Game 70 (33-25-12)
LOS ANGELES – They weren’t able to beat them in three attempts this season but on their fourth try, the Los Angeles Kings picked the right time to prevail over the Detroit Red Wings as their 5-2 victory now puts them in an all-too-exciting four-way tie for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West.
Justin Williams, who has suddenly found his stride as of late, opened the scoring with his 17th from Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown. A little later on, it was Anze Kopitar’s second shorthanded tally in a week as his 21st put the Kings up by a pair heading into the first intermission.
After Jiri Hudler put Detroit on the board early in the second, Drew Doughty’s 9th regained the two-goal cushion just past the halfway point of the frame. In the third, Slava Voynov scored on the power play to put the Kings up by three. After Johan Franzen scored to pull the Wings to within two, Jeff Carter iced it with an empty-netter.
Jimmy Howard was back in the Detroit and although he played well making 22 saves, Los Angeles was simply too strong on this night. Jonathan Quick was his usual self as he held the Wings at bay, stopping 22 of the 24 shots he faced.
It was a significant night in regards to special teams for the Los Angeles Kings. Although they only had two power plays, the Kings scored on one of them thanks to Slava Voynov’s goal to put his team up 4-1. Not only did the Kings kill off each of their four penalties but they added a shorthanded goal courtesy of Kopitar.
Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Justin Williams, Jeff Carter and Drew Doughty each had two-point nights with the latter notching a +3 rating. It was a collective effort by a home team and it paid off in the end as the Kings now hold their heads high in this the final stretch of the season.
At this point in the season, to say that the Kings pick up an important two points is simply redundant, although that is just what those two points are, especially against a Detroit team they have not been able to beat up until this point.
The race for 8th is now a four-horse race with San Jose, Calgary and Colorado all tied with the Kings with 78 points. The Flames defeated the Sharks last night in overtime to help create such a scenario. At 79 points, the Phoenix Coyotes aren’t exactly out of the woods themselves, which makes these last few weeks in the regular season an exciting time for everyone involved.
The Kings are now off for a couple of days before heading up the road on Friday night to take on the hated Anaheim Ducks. If this game was any indication, Friday’s tilt promises to be a great one.
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