The Kings certainly didn't make their franchise record 9th win in a row easy on themselves. They spotted the desperate Red Wings 3 goals in the first period. However, “coming from behind to win” is just one of the many feathers these new Kings have in their hat.
The first period was sloppy, especially for the Kings who yielded 3 goals. Detroit had all of the fire in the first period and seemed to take the air right out of the building by scoring 2 goals 16 seconds apart. If Kings fans had any hope nearing the end of the period it was certainly dented by a Detroit marker with just 5 seconds remaining.
Yet, as was exhibited in the game against Anaheim on Thursday, this team does give up without a fight.
The Kings took over in the second period, out-shooting the Wings 13-4. The Massive effort saw the teams head to their dressing rooms after two periods tied at 3 apiece. Frolov, Handzus, and Smyth all scored within a foot of the net on crash the net plays. Handzus' goal was a misplay by Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard as he failed to clear it from the front of the net and the forechecking Handzus hacked it underneath him.
Detroit came back strong in the third period, out-shooting the Kings 11-6. However, the Red Wings powerplay came up empty on two chances, finishing the night 0 for 4. With the game winding down and looking like it was headed for overtime, Michal Handzus stepped in and capped off a terrific individual performance. Handzus took a rebound and used his long reach to sweep it around an outstretched Jimmy Howard to pot his second of the game with just 2:21 remaining.
The Kings held on to win 4-3. Scott Parse had a strong game as well, notching 2 assists and finishing a +3. It was a bit of a rough night for Drew Doughty who took 2 penalties in the first period, but was fortunate that Detroit couldn't convert. The 9th win in a row for the Kings ended another streak, that of center Anze Kopitar. Kopitar's 8 game, 14 point streak ended as the Red Wings effectively shut him down. Jonathan Quick extended on his club record for most consecutive wins.
The crowd at Staples Center was packed on the rainy Saturday afternoon. Even with the early lead by Detroit the Kings fans never gave up hope, leading to a raucous outburst when Handzus put in the winner and cries of “Zus!” as the big man came out to accept the First Star of the game.
The win places the Kings firmly in 4th place in the West, tied with Phoenix in points but with one game at-hand and one more win than the Desert Dogs. The Kings have 3 more points than Vancouver, however yield the position in the standings due to the division-leader seeding system.
The Kings return to action on Monday against Anaheim. The game is the first of 3 remaining before the Olympic break. Puck drops at 7pm PT.
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