It looked like another opportunity slipping away from the Los Angeles Kings. After allowing 2 goals in a 2:02 span early in the first period, the Kings went into the dressing room with some questions to answer. It took less than 2 minutes into the 2nd period for Anze Kopitar to answer.
Brad Richardson fought his way to the front of the net and chipped a loose puck over Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard allowing Kopitar the easy tap-in to draw the Kings within 1.
Just over 6 minutes into the 3rd period Wayne Simmonds would find a wide open Peter Harrold creeping in from the point who winged a wrister past Howard to tie the game. With almost 8 minutes remaining in the period Scott Parse would slide a pass into the slot to the red-hot Brad Richardson who put it away for what would be the game-winner.
The Kings would survive the final push by Detroit to finish the game 3-2. Kopitar was a dominant force registering 1 goal, 2 assists, +3, and 8 shots on goal. The Kings had a total of 33 shots on Saturday. Richardson continued his strong play of late with a goal and an assist. Wayne Simmonds registered a pair of assists as well, rounding out the Kings top line.
Despite the controversy with GM Dean Lombardi, Jack Johnson had a solid game, logging almost 25 minutes and finishing the game even. Most notably, Johnson made solid and safe decisions with the puck and sound defensive plays in his own end.
The win propels the Kings into 6th place in the West, winning the tie-break over Nashville who also have 61 points. The loss bumps Detroit down to 9th, as they lose a tie-break with Calgary. The Kings are now only 2 points behind Phoenix with one game at hand. A win in Toronto on Tuesday would put the Kings ahead of Phoenix on a tie-break, regardless of the outcome of their game with Detroit on the same day.
The Kings continue their road trip on Tuesday in Toronto followed by a tilt with Columbus on Thursday. It will be interesting to see if GM Lombardi provides a boost to his club on the road trip amid rumors the Kings are in the hunt for both Ilya Kovalchuk and Ray Whitney. Scoring must be an emphasis for the team due to the prolonged loss of Justin Williams.
On a final note, I watched this game at the Kings viewing party at Barney's Beanery in Burbank. The place was packed with Kings fans along with the Kings Ice Crew raffling off team gear. They will be hosting another viewing party next Saturday for the match up against Boston. If you're in the area, you should come check it out.
About the Author
Written by Eric Cooney
Eric Cooney was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina, and lives in Los Angeles, CA. He shares his thoughts on the NHL as one man who is a northerner, southerner, east coaster, and west coaster. Follow him on Twitter @EricCooney