Howard Wins Round One of US Goaltending Duel as Wings Edge Kings; Fall to 27-14-15
Game 46; 27-14-5
LOS ANGELES - In a battle of two US Olympian netminders, it was Jimmy Howard who came out victorious as the Detroit Red Wings spoiled Jonathan Quick's 300th-career game as they downed the Los Angeles Kings by a 3-1 score.
The Kings, however, did start the contest on the right foot. While on the power play, Drew Doughty cashed in with his seventh to put the home team out in front. There was a bit of controversy on the play as Jimmy Howard thought he was interfered with by Kings captain Dustin Brown. Nevertheless, the goal stood and the silver-and-black were up 1-0. Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards registered the assists.
The lead, however, was short-lived as just three minutes later, Detroit responded courtesy of Riley Sheahan's first-career NHL goal, beating Quick to tie things up. Tomas Tatar, whose father had recently passed away, picked up an assist along with Brendan Smith.
After a scoreless second period and nothing in the first half of the third, the deadlock was broken. Unfortunately for the Kings, it was their opponents doing the damage as Tomas Tatar pounced on a rebound with Jonathan Quick down and out to score before removing his glove, kissing his finger and pointing to the sky to honour his late father. Tatar extended his goal-scoring streak to three games at the 12:06 mark to put Detroit out in front for good.
Daniel Cleary notched his fourth with just under three minutes to go in the contest and that was it. After a 4-1 loss in San Jose on Thursday, the Red Wings rebounded for a 3-1 victory thanks in large part to the aforementioned Jimmy Howard who made 44 saves en route to the win. Tomas Tatar also had a productive night notching a pair of points while playing with a heavy heart.
Despite outshooting their opponents 45-26, the Los Angeles Kings returned to a common theme: a lack of scoring. While Howard and the Detroit defense certainly deserves their share of credit, the Kings squandered far too many scoring opportunities while the Red Wings capitalized on the few chances they had. That, however, isn't taking anything away from Jonathan Quick who played admirably in a milestone game. Unfortunately, there's only so much a goaltender can do.
While the Kings cannot seem to curb their knack for offensive-zone penalties (Jeff Carter took a questionable one in the second), they were perfect on the penalty-kill, denying the Wings from scoring on all four opportunities.
Overall, while some positives could be taken from the loss, the continual lack of offense unfortunately overshadows any optimism the Kings can take from this defeat. For their first meeting as inter-conference opponents, the Red Wings take it as the Kings hope to rebound when these two clubs meet in Motown next Saturday.
Los Angeles will now have to regroup as they hope to end their homestand on winning note when they host the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.