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Romantic Ideals Squashed in Kings 5-2 Win over Red Wings

This is what the Kings and Kings' fans hope to see a lot at the STAPLES Center this season. (LAist/Jimmy Bramlett)
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Perfect passes and highlight reel goals come to mind when thinking of a team’s quest to get a playoff berth, especially when looking from the outside in. The Kings proved in their 5-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings that those romantic ideals don’t necessarily apply.

“This team dug a hole because of their home record early in the year,” head coach Darryl Sutter said. “We’re trying to stay in it, and dig out of it.”

That’s not to say the Kings didn’t try that early on. Breakaway shots by Jeff Carter and Jarret Stoll were stymied by Red Wings’ goaltender Jimmy Howard as if they were nothing but flies. But at 6:48 into the game, Drew Doughty’s shot from the right point came crashing through the crease. With Justin Williams causing enough of a disruption in front of the crease, the puck simply dribbled through Howard. Not a flash, but a squib, and the Kings were up 1-0.

It really seemed like the Kings were getting all of the bounces. During a Red Wings’ power play, Anze Kopitar got to a loose puck and unfurled a wrist shot that even had be wincing up in the press box. Of course that sailed over Howards’ pads and into the net. Of course just witnessing the first 20 minutes it seemed like everything was going to go the Kings’ way.

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But Friday in Detroit the Kings faltered after a 2-1 first period lead. After giving up the tying goal in the second period and trading goals during the third period, Darren Helm scored a tip in with 1:13 left in the game to send the Kings on their way with a 4-3 loss.

It really did look like a repeat in the second period. Almost all of the play was tilted towards the Kings’ zone that culminated in Jiri Hudler’s goal four minutes in the second. Just as the loss seemed inevitable despite the 2-1 lead, Drew Doughty came through with a shot from the high slot that deflected off of Red Wings’ defenseman Ian White and into the net.

“That was good to get a bounce like that because they haven’t been going that way lately,” Doughty noted.

The Kings’ special teams came to play holding the Red Wings’ scoreless in four power play chances. Meanwhile the once laughable Kings’ power play seems to have decided to become competent, coming into the game converting five of their last 19 chances. Not losing a step Slava Voynov converted on the Kings’ first power play chance at 8:23 in the third period all but cementing the game at 4-1.

Johan Franzen got one goal back midway through the period, but Jeff Carter capped things off with an empty netter to give the Kings their only win against Detroit this season.

“I thought we got off to a really good start,” Dustin Brown said, whose two assists tied his career-high points in nine consecutive games. “The first period was really good and probably the most important part of the game is that we weathered the storm in the second [period].”

Although Detroit head coach Mike Babcock was not happy with Howard’s effort on the ice saying, “Not good enough,” it was Howard’s first game since missing three games with a groin injury.

With the San Jose Sharks losing to the Calgary Flames in a shootout, there is now a four-way tie for the eighth playoff spot with San Jose and Calgary ahead of Los Angeles in tiebreakers and the Colorado Avalanche pulling up the rear.

And with the Kings needing to do anything possible to get into the playoffs, it should be noted the Kings are 2-0 with Tom Hanks in attendance.

LA Lakers defeat Memphis Grizzlies 116-111 (2OT).

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LA Lakers at New Orleans Hornets. 5:00 p.m. KCAL9, AM 710 KSPN.
Atlanta Hawks at LA Clippers. 7:30 p.m. FSWest, AM 980 KFWB.
Detroit Red Wings at Anaheim Ducks. 7:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 830 KLAA.

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