The Detroit Red Wings finally gain some puck luck, as they take down the L.A. Kings 3-2 in a shootout, sweeping the season series.
The first period was a defensive and goaltending battle, as the Kings hold the best defensive record in the league, and both teams are touting Olympic goaltenders as their starters in Jonathan Quick and Jimmy Howard. Shots through one period ended at 8 per side.
It would be L.A. that struck first in the second period, on a power play that should have been a 4-on-4 for offsetting minors against Brendan Smith and Dustin Brown. At 9:06, Mike Richards ripped a shot from the side of the faceoff circle that hit Howard in the side of the head, bounced off the crossbar and landed in the net to take the 1-0 lead. It wouldn’t take long for the Wings to respond, though, as just 41 seconds later, at 9:47, Henrik Zetterberg took a pass in front of Quick from Gustav Nyquist in the corner, and let off a wrister to beat Quick for the first goal of the night, tying it 1-1 leaving the second period. Shots after two were 25-17 in favor of the Kings.
The third period was huge for the Wings, who have had terrible “puck luck” all season, but finally caught a break late. The Kings would take the lead late in the period, at 17:45, when Jeff Carter took a rebound in the slot off a slapshot from the point, and potted the wrister to take the 2-1 lead. The Wings’ tying goal will be seen on “blown NHL official highlights” for years to come. Niklas Kronwall, whose holding penalty cost them the tie game in the previous power play, let off a shot from the blue line that rebounded off a defender’s stick and up into the netting. The puck ended up bouncing back down into play, off of Quick’s back, and into the net. After conferring on the play and making the call that it was an unreviewable goal, it stood as the tying goal at 19:33 to send the game into OT. As overtime would not see a deciding goal from either side, the game would ultimately end in a shootout. Shots through 65 minutes of play ended at 35-32 in favor of Detroit.
Tomas Tatar, who missed the previous game attending the funeral of his father, shot first for Detroit. He came in quickly through the slot putting on a few dekes and wristed the puck in close, beating Quick for the first, and ultimately only goal, of the shootout. Anze Kopitar shot next for L.A., attempting to go 5-hole on Howard, but was stopped. Zetterberg and Carter both shot next for their respective teams, but would both ultimately lose control of the puck and manage nothing. Tomas Jurco made his first NHL shootout attempt, having his wrist shot stopped by the blocker of Quick. It was up to Howard to stop Richards to win the game, and he would, making a similar blocker save on Richards to secure the much-needed two points for Detroit, winning 3-2.
This is a huge start in gaining the valuable points they need to get back into the playoff race. Next game is Monday night against former divisional rivals St. Louis. See you then, Nation!