Kings-Red Wings Preview
The Detroit Red Wings haven’t been themselves without their
injured stars and have slipped four points off the pace in the
Western Conference standings.
After their latest defeat, the Los Angeles Kings hope they
haven’t reverted back to their low-scoring ways.
Detroit seeks to avoid its fourth loss in five home games Friday
night when it faces Los Angeles.
The Red Wings (43-21-3) have played their last four games
without reigning Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom, and they
fell to 2-4-1 during Pavel Datsyuk’s current absence with a 3-2
loss at Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Detroit also played without standout goaltender Jimmy Howard,
who left after the first period of a 2-1 loss to Chicago on Sunday
with a groin strain.
Howard said his injury is nothing serious, but he will miss
Friday’s game along with Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Todd Bertuzzi and Jakub
Joey MacDonald is 7-3-1 with a 1.82 goals-against average in 11
appearances this season filling in for Howard, and he’ll likely get
the start Friday.
Datsyuk skated in practice Thursday for the first time since
having arthroscopic knee surgery Feb. 21 and hopes to return
“He’s going in the right direction,” coach Mike Babcock told the
team’s official website. “Soon I think you’ll see Nick back and
Bert back soon too. By the end of the weekend for sure.”
Detroit has fallen four points back of St. Louis and three
behind Vancouver in the West, and it has lost three of four at Joe
Louis Arena following its record-setting 23-game home winning
The Red Wings haven’t had much trouble this season against Los
Angeles, however, outscoring the Kings 12-3 in winning both
They won 8-2 at home Dec. 17 and 4-1 on Nov. 19 at Los Angeles,
which had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 3-1 loss at
Columbus on Thursday.
The Kings (31-24-12) had scored at least four goals in four of
their first five games after acquiring Jeff Carter from the Blue
Jackets at the trade deadline, but the offense sputtered again
Anze Kopitar scored short-handed and Jonathan Bernier made 33
saves for Los Angeles, which fell one point behind San Jose for the
final playoff spot in the West.
The Kings still are among the lowest-scoring teams in the NHL,
though Kopitar and captain Dustin Brown – who had an assist
Thursday – have played well of late. Kopitar’s goal gave him three
along with three assists during a five-game point streak, and Brown
has five goals and five assists during a six-game run.
Carter and Mike Richards went scoreless, though coach Darryl
Sutter refused to place blame for Thursday’s loss.
“I’m not going to single any of that out,” Sutter said. “The
only thing that kept us alive tonight was Jonathan Bernier and our
penalty kill. Other than that, it was pretty much right across (the
Jonathan Quick, who is 3-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA in his last four
starts, likely will be back in net for this matchup. Quick, though,
is 1-3-0 with a 4.83 GAA in his last four starts versus Detroit,
allowing three goals on seven shots before being pulled in
Prior to that defeat, the Kings had outscored the Red Wings 10-3
in winning the previous three meetings at Joe Louis Arena.