Howard, Ericcson Lead Red Wings Past Kings, 3-2
When Alec Martinez put in a rebound with 52 seconds left in the game it seemed the Kings would at least get a point in Detroit. With under 10 seconds left and a faceoff in the Kings' zone Daniel Cleary passed to Jonathan Ericcson who fired a slapshot past Jonathan Quick for the game winning goal with 4.5 seconds left on the clock.
The shot travelled through traffic and hit the inside of Quick's left leg. The puck somehow slipped through and slowly slid into the back of the net. Quick had no idea where the puck was after initial contact and to the horror of Kings' fan the barely moving puck looked like a train wreck in slow motion. The Kings have been on a downhill skid all season and the result of today's game was absolutely crushing.
Detroit goaltender, Jimmy Howard, was the star of the show (1st star to be exact). The Kings destroyed their highest shot total (which was 34) firing 47 at Howard. Howard stood on his head, slid on the ice, used every inch of his frame to deflect deflections away from the net and played as if the Kings were shooting a beach ball instead of a puck. Howard stoned Dustin Brown three times on the crease and with the exception of two rebounds played a flawless game.
The offensive effort by the Kings while unrelenting proved meaningless. Howard's play was amazing but the frustration of watching the Kings continue to shoot low and directly at the net began to build. All season the Kings have refused to adapt to what is occuring on the ice and because of that they sit at 3-5-2.
Another similar trend is falling behind. Pavel Datsyuk opened the scoring with a goal 3:44 into the game. Hernrik Zetterburg led Datsyuk into the Kings zone and after dodging a lunging Slava Voynov he flipped his shot past Quick into the right corner. With 2:32 left in the opening period Zetterburg assisted (his 13th of the season) Damien Brunner who fired a snapshot to the left post for a 2-0 lead.
Anze Kopitar scored with 40 seconds left in the first period on a rebound to the right side of the crease. Rob Scuderi blasted a shot and with Howard out of place Kopitar's fourth goal of the season gave the Kings momentum heading into the second.
The Kings dominated the second period totalling 23 shots with no success. The much improved power play stalled and went 0/3 despite putting heavy pressure on Howard and the exhausted Red Wings skaters. With four minutes left in the period the Kings tallied a total of 35 shots, one more than their previous season high.
With time winding down it seemed that the tired Red Wings, who were playing their second game in just over a day, would prevail. The Kings pulled Quick with a minute left and the puck deep in Detroit's zone. Coming off the bench, Kyle Clifford fired a desperate shot from the top of the box, which was saved but bounced right to Martinez who was able to score with 40 seconds left. Jeff Carter and Martinez were the only skaters near the rebound and the equalzing goal seemed as if would be more due to the exhaustion of Detroit.
After Ericcson's goal and a loss it's possible to make a speculation and a gurantee. The guarantee is that an overtime would have resulted in a point, which the Kings depsperately need. The speculation is that the combination of the momentum and fatigue of the Red Wings the subsequent overtime period could have provided a win and spark momentum heading to St. Louis tomorrow night.
The Kings will have to forget about the crushing, devastating, deflating loss as they play in St. Louis in less than 24 hours.