|DET||3||1||3||(0 - 0)||7|
|LAK||1||0||3||(0 - 0)||4|
Good feelings started in the morning, when Justin Williams signed a contract extension.
They extended to the afternoon, when Dustin Penner arrived via trade.
They did not, however, last the entire day. The Kings scored an early power-play goal Monday night, but then allowed seven consecutive goals and went on to a 7-4 loss to the Detroit Red Wings before a sellout crowd of 18,118 at STAPLES Center.
Every team is allowed an occasional clunker, but the Kings didn't take this one lightly. Given a chance for a statement win against one of the NHL's top teams, and a chance to move up to fourth place in the Western Conference, the Kings instead fell to sixth.
This one got ugly late, as Detroit led 4-1 after two periods then scored a shorthanded goal early in the third period and eventually took a 7-1 lead. Afterward, team captain Dustin Brown and assistant captains Matt Greene and Anze Kopitar participated a fairly lengthy meeting in the coaches' room and didn't emerge in high spirits.
``The second period, I thought, we kind of sat back, and you can't sit back against a team like that,'' Brown said. ``The third period is a whole other story. We didn't even compete for a lot of the period. We didn't have guys competing, which is unacceptable regardless of the score. We've got to play the game the right way.
``If anything, we've just got to forget this game. We're definitely pissed off about this game. We've got to learn from this. Their first two goals are as a result of our turnovers. So you live and learn, and at this time of year, we've got to find a way to get back. Our next game, we've got to have a strong game.''
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who had been 9-1-1 in his previous 11 starts, was pulled in the third period after he allowed six goals on 23 shots. Coach Terry Murray, clearly agitated after the game, said he considered pulling Quick after Detroit's first goal, a soft, short-side goal that came only 6:37 into the first period.
``We came out and scored the first goal and then I let up a bad goal,'' Quick said, ``kind of took the momentum out of our end and put it in their end a bit. Next thing you know it’s 2-1. For me, I didn’t get better unfortunately. They ended up piling up a little bit there.''
The Kings had won their first two meetings against the Red Wings this season, and had a chance to move into fourth place in the Western Conference with a win, but Jonathan Quick allowed goals on the first two shots he faced, and things didn't get much better.
After suffering only one regulation loss in their previous 15 games, the Kings took one on the chin against the Red Wings, against whom they had won four consecutive games.
Perhaps some karma came back to the Kings. When the teams met on Dec. 13 in Detroit, the Kings won 5-0 despite being outshot 51-26. On Monday night, the Kings arguably outplayed the Red Wings for two periods but trailed by a wide margin.
Michal Handzus got the scoring started for the Kings, 4:09 into the game, but less than three minutes later, the Red Wings had the lead, after Drew Miller beat Quick from a tight angle down low and Dan Cleary scored on a deflection just 30 seconds later.
The Kings arguably outplayed the Red Wings in the first period -- with a 14-10 edge in shots on goal -- but found themselves staring down a two-goal deficit, and things only went downhill from there.
``That’s a veteran team that knows how to do things right at a critical time in the year,'' Murray said of Detroit, ``in a big push to get their `A' game on track for the playoffs. They score goals at the right time and gave us a real lesson here, I think, today in how to come and be ready just to play hard, to play smart, to play intelligently in a road game.''
The next time the Kings play -- Thursday at home against Phoenix -- they will have the services of Penner, whom they acquired from Edmonton in exchange for defensive prospect Colten Teubert, a 2011 first-round pick and a conditional 2012 draft pick.
``Overall, I think our team deserved this,'' general manager Dean Lombardi said before the game. ``That room and those coaches have done a good job and it's time for us to step up and get them some help.''
A few hours earlier, Williams signed a four-year contract extension. Both players figure to be important scorers going forward, but preventing goals was the Kings' issue Monday.
The Kings took a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 4:09 into the first period. Jarret Stoll's shot from the blue line went wide, but the puck kicked hard off the end boards, back toward the net. Handzus, parked at the side of the net, took two whacks and the puck and pushed it past goalie Jimmy Howard. Kopitar also got an assist.
Detroit took the lead with two goals just 30 seconds apart, as the Red Wings scored on their first two shots on goal of the game.
First, just 2:28 after Handzus' goal, the Red Wings tied the game. Drew Miller carried the puck down low and looked to be going behind the net. Instead, Miller flipped the puck toward the net, from near the goal line, and had it deflect off Quick, short-side, and into the net to tie the game 1-1 at the 6:37 mark.
Then, 30 seconds later, Jiri Hudler took the puck across the Kings' blue line and lifted it toward the net. Dan Cleary, skating through the middle of the ice, raised his stick and deflected the puck down and past Quick to give Detroit a 2-1 lead at the 7:07 mark.
A power-play goal with 1:12 remaining in the first period gave the Red Wings a 3-1 lead. After a bit of a scramble in front of Quick, the puck went up high to Nicklas Lidstrom, who shot from the blue line. The puck got through traffic, hit the post and deflected in off Quick.
The Kings outshot the Red Wings 14-10 in the first period but allowed at least three first-period goals for the second time this season. The Kings allowed four first-period goals on Dec. 29 at Phoenix.
Detroit's second power-play goal of the game gave the Red Wings a three-goal lead with 42 seconds remaining in the second period. Pavel Datsyuk skated the puck to the middle of the left circle and beat Quick with a sharp wrist shot to the far corner of the net as the Red Wings took a 4-1 lead.
A third special-teams goal -- this time a shorthanded goal -- gave the Red Wings a 5-1 lead just 2:01 into the third period. Darren Helm forced the puck away from Drew Doughty at the Detroit blue line, then skated it all the way to the Kings' net and beat Quick with a wrist shot, five-hole, to give Detroit a four-goal lead.
Quick left the game after Detroit's sixth goal, 5:53 into the third period. Quick made the save on Kris Draper's wrist shot, but the puck popped in the air. Miller beat Rob Scuderi to the front of the net and knocked the rebound past Quick, who was then replaced by Jonathan Bernier after allowing six goals on 23 shots.
``This, right now, is the time when you’ve got to dig in, you bring your `A' game,'' Murray said, when asked about Quick. ``Everybody has to be responsible for that. In my mind, that's the player himself, in all the days that I played that’s your responsibility as a player to get yourself ready to do the right thing, so that you’re coming to the rink and you’re going to play. If you’re off your `A' game, you bring your best `B' game.
``You don't let it drop out. You don't drop down to the bottom. You’ve got to have your goaltender on top of his game anytime you play Detroit, and he had a tough game, a real tough game here today. So we’ll absorb this loss and hopefully we can bounce back and get ready to go against Phoenix.''
Bernier wasn't immune to the Red Wings' offense either, as Detroit took a 7-1 lead with 9:38 remaining in the third period. Jakub Kindl held the puck in the middle of the left faceoff circle, faked a shot then made a perfect cross-ice pass to Hudler in the right circle. Hudler roofed a shot into an essentially open net as Detroit took a six-goal lead.
The Kings ended a run of seven consecutive Detroit goals when Dustin Brown scored with 7:34 remaining. Kopitar, in the middle of the left circle, pushed the puck ahead to Brown, who turned and fired from close range and beat Howard to make it a 7-2 game.
``It’s easier to just say, `OK, forget it, let’s move on and reset,''' Kings defenseman Jack Johnson said. ``We have a big division game on Thursday, so you just move on. We still did some good things out there against a great hockey team. They’re a great team, the puck was going in a lot for them tonight.''
|PPG - Michal Handzus (9) ASST: Jarret Stoll (20), Anze Kopitar (41)|
1 - 0 LAK
|Drew Miller (5) ASST: NONE|
1 - 1 Tie
|Daniel Cleary (22) ASST: Jiri Hudler (24)|
2 - 1 DET
|PPG - Nicklas Lidstrom (13) ASST: Mike Modano (7), Henrik Zetterberg (50)|
3 - 1 DET
|PPG - Pavel Datsyuk (19) ASST: Henrik Zetterberg (51), Niklas Kronwall (20)|
4 - 1 DET
|SHG - Darren Helm (8) ASST: NONE|
5 - 1 DET
|Drew Miller (6) ASST: Kris Draper (3), Darren Helm (18)|
6 - 1 DET
|Jiri Hudler (8) ASST: Jakub Kindl (2), Todd Bertuzzi (23)|
7 - 1 DET
|Dustin Brown (21) ASST: Anze Kopitar (42), Brad Richardson (9)|
7 - 2 DET
|Wayne Simmonds (12) ASST: Alexei Ponikarovsky (5), Drew Doughty (24)|
7 - 3 DET
|Brad Richardson (7) ASST: Matt Greene (7)|
7 - 4 DET
|Darren Helm Hooking against Trevor Lewis|
|Matt Greene Hi-sticking against Tomas Holmstrom|
|Jarret Stoll Hi-sticking against Valtteri Filppula|
|Jiri Hudler Interference against Anze Kopitar|
|Ruslan Salei Holding against Wayne Simmonds|
|Jarret Stoll Hooking against Pavel Datsyuk|
|Jiri Hudler Hooking against Dustin Brown|
|Kyle Clifford Tripping against Jakub Kindl|