Los Angeles at Detroit (1/23/10)

Tonight the Red Wings played their most important game of the season to this point. The Los Angeles Kings were in town for a game at the Joe. The Kings are the team directly above Detroit in the standings; they’re they team the Red Wings have been chasing the last several games. If they earned two points cleanly against the Kings it would really help and put the Red Wings ahead of them in the standings. At the start of the game L.A. was in 7th place and Detroit was in 8th. The Western Conference is so tight however that every game is an important chance at two points. Tonight Jonathan Quick was the starting goalie for the Kings and Jimmy Howard started for the Red Wings.

In the first period Cleary and Filppula were working the puck along the boards in the Kings’ end. Filppula passed it to Cleary and moved towards the middle. Cleary passed it back and Filppula carried it into the slot. He came closer and closer to the net and nobody tried to stop him so he just kept moving into position and choosing his shot. He finally released it and burned Quick for a goal high on the short side. He had all the time in the world and he made the most of it. To quote Mickey Redmond, “He put THAT yo-yo to sleep!” It was one nothing Red Wings.

Later in the first period Helm was hit in the face with Frolov’s stick and the Red Wings went on the power play. During the power Meech crashed heavily into the boards with Simmonds right behind him. The closest referee, Chris Lee, was right on top of the play and didn’t call a penalty but Dan O’Halloran decided from center ice that it was a trip. On the replay it was clear that there was no trip; Meech simply lost an edge. I’m not sure why O’Halloran thought he knew better than the ref that was right there. The Red Wings have been on the other end of those kind of bad calls plenty of times this season so I guess this is one of those times were it evens out. That put the Wings on a 5 on 3 power play.

During the two man advantage Lidstrom got the puck at the point. He walked the line with it and passed it back to Rafalski for the right handed shot. Rafalski fired it with Bertuzzi in front. The puck hit Bertuzzi’s knee, changed direction and went into the net giving the Wings the two to nothing lead with almost a full two minutes of power play time still to go. I’m sure the Kings were pretty sour about the tripping call that led to the goal.

Early in the second period Kopitar shot from the face off dot. Howard stopped the puck but as he was about to dive on it to cover it up Richardson chipped it up and over him. It dropped down to the ice behind Howard and Kopitar came in and knocked it the rest of the way into the net. That gave the Kings their first goal of the game and made it two to one.

The Kings really took it to the Red Wings in the second period. After the first period the shots on goal were pretty even but in the second it seemed to be all Los Angeles. Luckily, the Red Wings kept them to just a single goal so they still had the lead two to one.

The Red Wings didn’t take control of the game like they wanted to in the third period. The Kings continued to play harder than the Wings and create more offense.

In the third period the puck got chipped up and over Howard and it hit the crossbar. It dropped down and was heading into the net when Brad Stuart, who was sprawled on the ice, swept it away with his stick just a split second before it would have crossed the line. That earned him a nice pat on the head from Jimmy Howard after the play ended. Great save by Stuart!

A few minutes later Kopitar brought the puck into the Red Wings end. He wiped out but swept the puck to Simmonds who passed to Harrold in the slot who was driving to the net. Harrold fired a wrister and beat Howard tying the game two.

Later in the third Kopitar had the puck deep in the Red Wings end. He circled with it and dished it to Parse. Parse saw Richardson all alone at the other side of the net and passed it to him. Richardson tapped it by Jimmy Howard to give the Kings the lead three to two with only about eight minutes left in the game.

With less than two minutes to go in the game the Wings were shorthanded because of a weak hooking call to Eaves. They pulled the goalie with just over a minute left to get back to even strength but they weren’t able to score.

This was a very disappointing loss for the Red Wings. It was a really important two points and they were in a great position to win after ending the first period up two to nothing. The problem is that the first period was pretty much the only one they played. They were just coasting after that and that’s not good enough. They gave up three unanswered goals and just didn’t seem to have any jump. Surprisingly, the shots on goal were even by the end of the game. It sure didn’t seem even. They didn’t look like a team that really wanted those two points although I know they did. I don’t know why but it just didn’t seem to click tonight.

This 3-2 loss brings us to:
58 points

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