Previewing the Los Angeles Kings' 2011-12 season:
Game 32 @ Detroit
December 17, 2011
4pm PST (7pm EST)
The Los Angeles Kings look to put a winning streak as they continue their eastern road swing in Detroit against a very tough Red Wings team. Despite losing Thursday night in Nashville, the Wings are 7-3-0 in their last ten and showing no signs of slowing down.
With his first win as coach on Thursday night in Columbus, John Stevens knows he has to have his team play a full sixty-minutes should they have any chance tonight. For one, Los Angeles needs to stay out of the penalty box – a problem they’ve had for weeks now. They may have been lucky in the past but with Detroit’s fifth-ranked 21.3% power play rating, the Kings have no room for error, even if Los Angeles’ 86.5% penalty-kill rating is good enough for sixth in the league.
To win, not only does Jonathan Quick have to be on top of his game but so does his defense as, in their seven games this month, Detroit has scored a total of 27 goals, averaging just under four per game while the Kings are on the opposite side of the spectrum, failing to score more than two in each of their last ten games. If the Kings look to stop that trend, they’re going to have to pull out all the stops as Wings’ netminder Jimmy Howard as he leads the league with 18 wins, is sporting a miniscule 1.90 GAA and a .929 save-percentage to along with three shutouts. In fact, in the last meeting between the two clubs back on November 19, Howard proved to be the difference as he stopped 23 of 24 shots en route to Detroit’s 4-1 win in Los Angeles.
The likes of Datsyuk, Franzen, Filppula and Lidstrom are all hot right now for the Wings and it's going to be up to Los Angeles to put those fires out.
At practice yesterday, John Stevens indicated that he will be making one lineup change for tonight’s game. What that change will be remains to be seen. Should the Kings win tonight, it would do wonders for their morale but it is, with all intents and purposes, going to take a full-on effort to do that. Can they do it? Let’s hope so.
Enjoy the game!
Photo: Courtesy of Rebecca Cook/Reuters