The Red Wings dominated the struggling defending champions with a killer performance. Four goals in the first period by their first line helped beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-2 at the Joe Louis Arena on Halloween night. Gustav Nyquist and Pavel Datsyuk scored a pair each winning their fifth in a row against LA at home. Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard allowed two while holding the Kings to 30 shots in his fifth win.
The Red Wings face the Stanley Cup champions at home on this Halloween night where a win against them will help start a four game home-stand at the Joe. They have a five game winning streak against Los Angeles at home against them and four of their last five meetings going to the Red Wings. Howard is expected to be in net for Detroit as the Kings are not doing well on the road. Los Angeles was blanked 3-0 against the Penguins gaining another game where they were shutout. Jonathan Quick gets back into the net hoping to change his team’s chances against their former Western Conference rival.
The Red Wings controlled pace of the puck in the first five minutes pressuring Quick with good scoring chances. On the opening power play, Nyquist scored his sixth of the season after the Zetterberg line made a triangular pass play to end with Nyquist in front of Quick for the 1-0 lead. During an ice cleaning timeout, fans at the Joe gave their well wishes to Gordie Howe who is recovering from a stroke he suffered on Sunday. The return of the game saw the Kings rushing into the Detroit net where they scrambled to slap the puck into Howard but he was there to cover it with the support of his defense.
Datsyuk made an amazing play in the Kings zone where he swiped the puck away from Dwight King to charge back towards Quick and score a wrister in the back of the net. It led to LA coach Darryl Sutter to take a timeout and settle his team down before more damage could be done. Detroit went back on the power play and in another stellar setup; Nyquist was there on the stick side to shoot on a near open net for a 3-0 lead and his second of the night. “I got to be open at the same time, obviously my job is to retrieve pucks but to be open as well and playing with those guys they know how to find people so just got to be ready to shoot the puck,” said Nyquist who has scored three times on four Detroit power plays.
Detroit scored their fourth goal in a row on Nyquist’s battle for the puck behind the net where he found Tomas Tatar next to the goal for his second of the season. We played with each other for awhile in Grand Rapids even up here so we have some chemistry,” Tatar said to Fox Sports Detroit reporter Lindsay Hayes about Nyquist. “We know where someone is on the ice and it was nice play by him I found my spot and glad it went in.” Detroit scored their four goals in ten minutes while having a great start to their man advantage. “The power play was magic tonight and our guys were skating well,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said in his postgame conference.
The Kings got the best break of the game as one of the panels of glass was broken and had to be replaced with 1:52 left in the period. Both teams went to intermission and would conclude the remaining time afterwards. There was no action to be seen in the time remaining as the Red Wings were on a strong defense after scoring so fast.
The Kings spent most of the second period trying to make a strike onto the scoreboard but were still showing signs of struggle while down four goals. On a play where the Kings fought for possession inside the Detroit zone, Michigan native Alec Martinez scored the first goal for Los Angeles on a backhander giving him his first goal of the season. Mike Richards helped with Martinez’s rush with the puck where he slapped the puck across the length of the Red Wings net to find Martinez there for the goal. Los Angeles pushed in the final minutes to progress from their opening goal and get back into it. It didn’t work out at the close of the second but their numbers on shots to the net showed that they were finding their handle on a three goal margin.
The third was LA’s last chance to make a successful comeback and while shorthanded on Detroit’s fourth power play of the game. Robyn Regehr stole the puck in the neutral zone and made the pass to Tyler Toffoli who took a wrist shot and notched his sixth on the year to cut the Red Wings lead in half. They nearly made it a one goal game as Kings Captain Dustin Brown was awarded a penalty shot but was denied by Howard. “It was a little humid in here tonight and it probably wasn’t the best ice for him to do a move so I stayed as patient as possible,” Howard said to reporters after the game.
As Detroit got hold of the puck their way of playing from the first period was not as present with eight minutes left as they couldn’t put any sharp plays together in an attempt to return their four goal lead. Instead, they fought off the Kings scoring chances and battles on the faceoff dot to make time their ally. With 90 second left, the Kings pulled Quick from the net but paid for it with Detroit’ fifth goal on the night that was put in by Datsyuk for his second of the night as well. The Magic Man seems to have the Kings number as he has scored in the last eight meetings between both teams.
It would be on the entire Los Angeles squad but most importantly their netminder who made 30 saves but picked up his first loss since opening night against San Jose. They are on their worst start with a three game losing streak and still not viewing the end of the tunnel as they face Carolina on Sunday.
Detroit scored on two of their five chances showing that they had what it took to get back into scoring pucks to the net. “It’s a great boost,” said Howard. “We need our power play to help us out night in and night out here. We can’t really depend on our PK even though they’ve been doing a great job.” The Red Wings will have plenty more chances to improve on their power play as they have three games on the road with the next taking place Sunday against the struggling Sabres.