February 27, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Lashoff (23) clears the puck against the defense of Los Angeles Kings center Colin Fraser (24) during the first period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Kings 2, Red Wings 1: Wings Break Late, Lose Heartbreaker

The Red Wings took it to the Kings early and often in the first period, playing with aggression and energy. Despite two power-play outages (bringing their road mark this season to 0-for-30) the Wings managed opportunity after opportunity on Kings netminder Jonathan Bernier. Almost halfway through the period, Kyle Quincey fired one from just inside the blueline that bounced up in the air and caught Bernier by surprise.  He was unable to make the save and the Wings took a 1-0 lead. The two teams traded tries after the goal, but the Wings maintained the 1-0 lead after one. They outshot the reigning champs 13-5 in the first frame.

The pace was slowed somewhat in the second period, despite the Kings having an easier time entering the neutral zone. Both teams maintained stout blueline play and chances were less plentiful than they were in the first. About midway through the period the Wings took consecutive penalties just 22 seconds apart, putting the Kings on a 5-on-3 for 1:38. The Wings killed off most of the penalty before a hooking call kept the Kings on the advantage.  But the Wings held their ground, killing off all the penalties and holding the Kings to only a couple prime opportunities.  After this kill, both teams surged but neither found the back of the net. After two, Wings 1, Kings 0.

Much like the first, the Wings came out firing in the third, recording nine of the first 11 shots on net in the period. Around the 9:30 mark, Quincey found himself in the box after a roughing call, putting the Kings on their fourth power play of the game.  Just seconds later, a faceoff infraction put the Kings on another two-man advantage. And this time, L.A. capitalized. Jeff Carter tied the game at the 10:26 mark as he tucked it in under Howard’s pads.  The momentum slowly but surely shifted the Kings’ way after that, as they picked up the physical play and challenged Howard. With less than five minutes left, Anze Kopitar deked out Howard after Jonathan Ericsson lost the puck on Howard’s glove side to give the Kings a 2-1 lead.  That would be the final, as the Kings skated off with their seventh win in eight games.

Another blown lead for Detroit, and that’s a problem that they just cannot seem to fix. Despite the loss and a couple of officiating blunders late in the third, let’s keep in mind that the Wings played well against the defending Stanley Cup champs (who are 7-1 in their last 8) on the road. Also, the Wings held onto their position in the top eight out West and are still just a single point out of fourth. So while losses like this leave a bad taste in fans’ mouths, this one wasn’t devastating.  No argument that it hurt, though.

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