'Never got going': Kings top sluggish Red Wings, end modest win streak
Detroit — Unfortunately for Red Wings fans, this is the type of game they’ve been more accustomed to this season.
After two victories and two games where the Red Wings did plenty of positive things in a variety of areas, it was back to normal Sunday.
The Wings looked sluggish, unenergized, and mostly bad, in a 4-2 loss to Los Angeles at Little Caesars Arena.
“I know how we played the first periods, it was no good,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “We got out-competed, out-executed, outworked, and if you do those three things, you have no chance.
“This ends up 4-2, but that doesn’t tell the story of the game.”
Even in some one-sided losses this season, the Wings have generally been hard-working and tough to play against.
Sunday wasn’t one of those times, though.
“We looked like a team that wasn’t ready to play and that’s ultimately on me,” Blashill said. “We never got our game going. You give up easy goals, you give away goals, it’s hard to win.”
Anze Kopitar had two goals, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli each scored once, and goalie Jack Campbell (Port Huron) made 22 saves as the Kings (14-18-3) swept the two-game season series against the Wings.
Filip Zadina and Madison Bowey produced the lone Wings' highlights with late goals.
Zadina scored his second goal of the season in the third period. Zadina now has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his last eight games while securing his spot on the roster.
“Filip Zadina was probably our best forward,” Blashill said.
Zadina put back a rebound of Bowey's shot at 9 minutes, 51 seconds of the third period, cutting the Kings' lead to 4-1.
Bowey sliced the Kings' lead to 4-2 with his second goal of the season, at the 17:38 mark, on a shot from the point that appeared to deflect off a Kings' stick past Campbell.
Los Angeles is 10 points and two places above the Wings (9-23-3) in the overall standings, but the gulf seemed more than that most of Sunday’s game
“Both teams played (Saturday) but nobody’s using that excuse, especially in this league,” Bowey said. “Games like that, we have to bear down from the get-go and play a full 60 (minutes). We had good compete in the third period, but those aren’t going to get you the wins.”
The Kings outshot the Wings 32-24, dominated possession of the puck for much of the game, and didn’t let the Wings get close to Campbell.
“Anytime you’re on a back-to-back like that, you want to make sure you’re keeping plays simple,” forward Justin Abdelkader said. “The puck was bouncing, but it happens for both teams. We have to make sure we’re playing a straightforward game and not giving up chances.”
Carter opened the game's scoring at 12:15 of the first period with his 10th goal.
Carter put a shot on goalie Eric Comrie, who was making his first start at Little Caesars Arena, and it was denied. But Carter pounced on a juicy rebound — and Comrie allowed more than a few rebounds — and flicked the puck into the net.
The Wings had two power-play opportunities in the last half of the first period, an excellent chance to get back into the game. But a power play that's shown signs of life recently put no pressure on the Kings.
The Kings crushed a lot of the Wings' momentum in the opening moments of the second period.
Kopitar, who has dominated the Wings in his career, appeared to be intending to pass the puck to a streaking Dustin Brown. But the puck bounced off the skate of Jonathan Ericsson and past Comrie, just 40 seconds into the second period.
After a pair of Kings power plays went nowhere, Kopitar extended the lead to 3-0 with his 13th goal at 11:14 of the period.
Alex Iafallo put a shot on net that Comrie stopped, but left the rebound directly for Kopitar on the doorstep.