LOS ANGELES – Anze Kopitar had a goal and three assists and the Los Angeles Kings defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-2, to snap their four-game win streak on Monday night at Staples Center.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Detroit entered the game red hot, winning four consecutive games on the road as they raced up the Atlantic Division standings. After defeating the Anaheim Ducks 2-1, a night prior, head coach Jeff Blashill elected to start the struggling Jimmy Howard in net against Los Angeles instead of Peter Mrazek.
The Kings jumped on Howard early when Anze Kopitar found Tyler Toffoli wide open in front of the net for his team-high 20th goal of the season. The goal came just 2:49 into the game and the Kings took an early 1-0 lead.
Detroit answered right back with back-to-back goals from Tomas Tatar and Alexey Marchenko. Marchenko's goal was his first of the season as the defenseman raced over to scoop up a loose puck and launched a wrist shot from just in front of the blue line that beat Quick to his stick side for the goal.
"I thought the first period was a good period," Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill said. "It was back-and-forth, they had some good opportunities, Jimmy Howard made some big saves."
Los Angeles dominated the start of the second period as their defense did not allow a shot for the first 14 minutes. Kopitar scored on the power play when his wrist shot beat Howard before with 3:32 left in the period.
The game turned when Jonathan Ericsson picked up a penalty for hooking with just four seconds remaining in the second period. The penalty meant the Kings would start on the power play, with fresh legs and fresh ice, for nearly two minutes at the start of the third period.
"It gave us an opportunity to build momentum at the start of the period," Martinez said about beginning the third period on the power play. "You got fresh ice, so you can zip the puck around better than you can at the end."
The crippling penalty did indeed come back to haunt Detroit as Alec Martinez one-timed a pass from Drew Doughty that slipped through Howard's five-hole for the game-winning goal.
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"It's not something you want to do," Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey said of the penalty at the end of the period. "We thought that we could kill it off and go from there, but they got one there and it is what it is."
Dwight King scored an empty-netter with less than a minute left in the game to give the Kings the 4-2 victory.
Despite struggling on shots from deep, Jonathan Quick picked up the win and extended his point streak to eight consecutive games. Quick made 25 saves on the night.
With the loss, the Red Wings have now lost four out of their last five games at Staples Center and Howard remains winless on the season.
"It was a complete battle out there. I was trying, to the best of my ability, to find pucks and make saves for the guys but I came up short," Howard said after the game. "I demand a lot from myself and tonight was not a good performance."
Jonathan Ericsson's hooking penalty. With just 4 seconds left in the second period, Ericsson was called for hooking, giving the Kings a power play to start the third period with fresh legs.
MVP OF THE GAME
Anze Kopitar. The Slovenian center has been in the zone lately as he tallied a goal and three assists on the night.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Jonathan Quick's point streak extends to eight straight games (7-0-1) over that span.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
I see what you did there…
PHOTO OF THE NIGHT
No octopus for you!
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"After the first period he took over the game. That was obvious from where I was standing." – LA Kins head coach Darryl Sutter on the performance of Anze Kopitar.
The Los Angeles Kings honored the late David Bowie who passed away on Sunday night at the age of 69. The Kings played numerous Bowie songs throughout the game including "Suffragette City" and "Let's Dance."
Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard made his first appearance since being pulled in a 4-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 29th.
Joakim Andersson did not start for Detroit whereas, Jamie McBain, Andy Andreoff and Jordan Nolan were all scratched from the game for the Kings.
Detroit Red Wings (22-14-7, 51 points) 2nd in the Atlantic Division.
Los Angeles Kings (27-12-3, 57 points) 1st in the Pacific Division.
Detroit concludes their six-game road trip in Phoenix on Thursday when they take on the Arizona Coyotes.
The Kings get a nice four-day break before hosting the Ottawa Senators on Saturday at 1:00PM at Staples Center.