Kings stun Wings in rare win in Hockeytown
Game 51: Kings 3, Red Wings 2
Kicking off their five-game road trip, thanks to the Grammys, the Kings head right into the Lions' mouth, hoping to catch a Tiger by the tail, legs furiously pumping like Pistons as they take on the Red Wings...
Sorry, I've had three cups of coffee this morning...
Heading into the matchup, everyone was aware of the Curse of Joe Louis Arena. Detroit has a unique record: the Wings have qualified for the playoffs for 18 straight years, the longest in all of the main four pro sports.
Add to that, the Kings have a devil of a time playing in Hockeytown, only winning once in the last 10 games. Heck, the Kings have only won once in the 10 games overall, so they had a lot on their plate Saturday.
And as the Wings opened up a two goal lead in the first, I could feel my friends who are Wings fans itching to Tweet me up, razzing me on the "Queens" unable to win in Detroit.
Cue the Rocky music. Anze Kopitar, who was paired with Wayne Simmonds and Brad Richardson, struck first when goaltender Jimmy Howard couldn't control a rebound early in the second period. (Bong)
Then Peter Harrold scored his first of the season, as a sprawling Kopitar passed the puck to Simmonds, who then caught a charging Harrold, who smacked it unhindered past Howard to make it 2-0. (Bong)
Anze Kopitar started it once again, who skated deep in the Red Wings zone, peeled off and hit a charging Scott Parse, who then snuck a pass behind a defender to Richardson. Richardson quickly tapped the puck past Howard's stick for the game-winner.
Kopitar had himself quite a game, and it didn't go unnoticed.
"Every time the puck was on his stick, he was at the net," coach Terry Murray told reporters after the game. "He was in dirty areas, paying a price. He was very physical in battles for puck possession. He came up with them a lot of the time. His best game of the year."
It was another good yardstick of a game, sticking with a Detroit squad who simply didn't have the horses to keep up with Kopitar and the Kings. They continue their East Coast swing with a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
• AP: Kings burn Winged Wheels with rally, victory
“They’re right behind us in the standings, and just to push them a little further down, it definitely makes a difference,” Kopitar said. “Hopefully it’s going to pay off in the end.”• LATimes: Kings stun Red Wings in Detroit, 3-2
After beating the Red Wings for the first time in three games this season, the first time on the road since Feb. 7, 2008, and only the second time in Detroit in their last 11 games, the Kings moved three points ahead of eighth-place Calgary and ninth-place Detroit.• LAKings.com: Kings rally for big win
Terry Murray knew that if the Kings were to thrive in this playoff race, they would need a lot out of Anze Kopitar, more than they’ve been getting of late. In search of a spark, Murray partnered Kopitar with two grinders, Brad Richardson and Wayne Simmonds.• NHL.com: Kings rally for 3-2 win over Wings
As they started a big road trip after a disappointing homestand, the Los Angeles Kings needed to make a statement. They did.They said it
“It’s always a tough building, coming in here. We got down early, when they had that 5-on-3, but we didn’t play too bad in the first. They kind of got those bounces but we played really good in the second and really good in the third, and that was a huge win for us." - Brad Richardson, on the win
“If you look at the game, Kopi clearly outplayed their best players, and we kept maybe their three top players off the score sheet, at least with goals. That’s what happens when you have 20 guys going, and your best players are your best players. Not only Kopi, but I thought Dewey and Jack played pretty solid on the back end. We need that every night." -Dustin Brown, on Kopitar's play
“That’s a good test of our character, I felt. It’s a very deep hole to dig out of, in this building, and the guys came out with a lot of determination in the second period. I thought the flow of the game and that attitude was outstanding. There were good things that were going on, with intensity and playmaking." -Terry Murray, on the rally
• LAKingsNews.com: Kings kick feathered tires to curb, 3-2
While the Wings were guilty of what the Kings oft used to be, namely only playing 25 minutes of good hockey, they do deserve credit for not giving the Kings the middle of the ice for most of the game, despite the constant pressure against them. The Kings, however, deserve all the more credit for never faltering or wavering after a highly unfortunate and partially terrible first 10 minutes of the game.• MayorsManor: Kings figure out How(ard)
Coach Murray somehow figured out how to get even more out of Wayne Simmonds. It's almost like it doesn't matter who he's paired with. Wayne the Train just makes everybody play better. Pick up one of his bobble heads at the game on February 11th and he'll probably make you better at something too.• HockeyBuzz's Matthew Barry: Down 2-0, Kings Beat Red Wings 3-2/Kovalchuk
There’s a lot of buzz tonight about Ilya coming to the Kings and not just from Eklunds headline story (my phone has been blowing up so much it even made me screw up this blog!) – the feeling is stronger than ever. This one may finally have some legs. I’m hearing Frolov is NOT part of the package.• Battle Of California: Dean Lombardi is a Straight-Shooter/Jerk
(Ed. note: The whole Dean/Jack spat has been a bit tedious. RudyKelly does a good job summing up why Dean was in the wrong)From across the aisle, the Detroit viewpoint
Let me say that I think almost everything Dean Lombardi said is absolutely true. Jack Johnson was awful when he first came into the league, he did play every position at Michigan, and he wasn't prepared for the NHL. Lombardi is correct when he says all of that, and I think he said it in an effort to explain why Johnson isn't as far along in his development as someone like Drew Doughty. It's the equivalent of someone explaining why a kid from the projects didn't get a high SAT score.
Now, if Dean could just show me the line in Red Berenson's job description it says that he is supposed to prepare his kids for the NHL, I'll be on board with him.
• Detroit News: Wings squander another lead; Fans climb on catwalk
"They were better than us tonight," Babcock said. "They were better than us last time, but Howie did a great job keeping the puck out of the net. Tonight, again, they were stronger than us for longer periods."• Free Press: Wings surrender another lead
"We let it slip through our fingers," said Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, who made 30 saves. "We're up 2-1 going into the third and we needed to find a way to close them out, and unfortunately we couldn't do that."• Winging It in Motown: Red Wings give up two-goal lead, lose to Kings 3-2
Unlike the last time these two teams met (when he made 51 saves), Jimmy Howard couldn't bail the Wings out: he made 30 saves on the 33 Kings shots. It was Jonathan Quick who made some spectacular saves tonight as part of the 31 save performance.• The Production Line: Instant react: Damnit
The Kings looked twice as big and fast as the Wings starting in the second period and continuing all the way through the rest of the game. The second was particularly brutal, as they got a goal from Kopitar, who cashed in a wobbling puck behind Howard. They tilted the ice again in the third period, racking up goals from Harrold and Richardson.• The Winged Wheel: Nice 15 Minutes
What the hell was the reasoning behind having the third line out there up against Kopitar when they scored the third goal? There isn't really much of an excuse for it considering we get last change.• Snipe, Snipe Dangle, Dangle: Red Wings 2, Kings 3: Post Game Snipes
They had a chance to pass LA in the standings and continue working their way into a solid playoff spot, but they couldn’t be bothered to play more than one period of hockey. Again.Peeping the dailies
Video: Kings slip by Wings