Los Angeles at Detroit (12/20/08)

Tonight the Los Angeles Kings were in Detroit to take on the Red Wings.  The goalie for the Kings was Jon Quick and for the Red Wings it was Ty Conklin.  The Red Wings were coming off their best performance of the season after beating the Sharks six to nothing in the previous game.  The risk coming into this one was that the Wings might not take this game seriously enough.

In the first few minutes of the game the Kings capitalized on a mistake by Hossa.  They were getting shots on goal and Conklin made some good saves.  Then the puck came to Hossa along the boards in the Red Wings end.  He tipped it to the slot area but no one was there.  One of the Kings got to it first and threw it on net.  Conklin made the first save but the Kings kept after it and scored on the rebound.  Once again the Red Wings had an early hole to climb out of.

Detroit tied the game later in the period on a great goal by Datsyuk.  Entering the zone he passed to Holmstrom on the wing.  Homer threw it back to Datsyuk in the middle.  Datsyuk went skate to stick and then backhand to forehand.  Quick had already committed to the backhand shot so Datsyuk just put it in around him.  It was a great move.  There are few goalies who wouldn’t have bit on that one.

A few minutes later in the first period Lilja scored on a long distance shot from the point that surprised Quick.  It looked like he couldn’t see it until the last second.  The shot came right off the faceoff so nobody was really expecting it.

Lilja’s goal celebration didn’t last long.  Just a few seconds later Frolov took the puck to the Wings net and skated all around the crease.  He waited and Conklin went down.  He kept skating around Conklin and put in into the net.

The first period ended tied at two.  It featured a total of 25 shots which is quite a surprise in a game featured two teams that are known for allowing few shots on goal.

Early in the second period Zetterberg was called for a trip when he literally never touched the guy.  From the point of view of the ref it looked like Zetterberg’s stick was in the guys skates.  From a different angle it was obvious that the stick was next to the skates and the guy simply tripped over his own feet.  It was a bad call but an honest mistake by the ref.  He called it as it looked from his angle.  Luckily the Wings were able to kill off the penalty so no harm done.

Near the end of the second period the Kings defense tried to go up the middle with the outlet pass.  Lidstrom read the play and picked it off in the high slot.  He took it to the net and shot.  Quick stopped the shot but Samuelsson pounced on the rebound and scored to give Detroit the lead.

Then, just a few seconds later, the Kings scored to tie it up again.  They passed through the crease but Conklin was set for a shot.  He got a piece of the pass but it made it through to the other side of the net where Kyle Calder put it home.

Early in the third period the Kings broke the tie.  They entered the zone and Lilja was the only defenseman back.  He tried to block the shot but it was a pass across instead.  I don’t know why he was trying to block the shot since Conklin was set and ready for it.  The pass made it through to Dustin Brown and he had a wide open net to put it into.

 As the third period was winding down Detroit tied it up again.  Lidstrom sent a hard pass from the point to Filppula near the goal line.  He shot it and Quick blocked it but the rebound came right back to Filppula.  He threaded the needle to get the puck through the crease to Hudler on the other side of the net for the easy tap in.

With about a minute and a half left in regulation the Red Wings broke the tie.  Cleary shot from the far side of the circle.  Hudler was in front of the net.  Quick couldn’t see the shot because of Hudler and the guy defending him so he never had a chance to stop it.  The shot was perfectly placed by Cleary who seems to be seeing just fine with the new visor.

In the final minute the Kings pulled their goalie.  They tried hard to score but Detroit smelled blood and wouldn’t let up.  Franzen got the puck in the neutral zone and selflessly gave it to Draper to score the empty net goal.

In general it seemed like the Red Wings played pretty well tonight.  There were again just a few defensive breakdowns that almost ruined it.  Detroit was lucky to be able to pull out the win to overcome those few lapses because the Kings seemed to take advantage of any little break that was offered them.

This 6-4 win brings us to:
22-6-4
48 points

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