'We weren't ready to bring the battle': Sleepy Red Wings dominated by Kings
Good for you if you didt't stay up to watch the Red Wings.
You didn't miss a darn thing.
Playing in Los Angeles on Saturday, the Wings never really got started and wound up losing 4-0 in a game that was one-sided from the start.
The Kings outshot the Wings by a staggering 27-2 margin in the first period — outshot the Wings 42-21 in the game — as the Wings (16-16-3) lost their seventh in their last 10 games and third in the last four since returning after being shut down after a COVID outbreak.
"We weren't ready to go," forward Dylan Larkin said. "We have to jump in and play our game from the start and especially on the road. We do it at home, and we should be able to do it on the road.
"We weren't ready to bring the battle to them."
Larkin attempted to spark the Wings after the second KIngs goal, by Drew Doughty, getting into a fight right after the faceoff with Kings forward Phillip Danault. The Wings did have more jump in the final 40 minutes, but by then the damage had largely been done.
"I didn't like the way things were going, I wanted to send a message and calm things down (for the Wings) and get into this game before it got out of control," Larkin said. "The second and third periods, we were much better."
Danault, Drew Doughty, Adrian Kempe (shorthanded) and Trevor Moore (empty net) scored for the Kings (17-13-5), while goalie Cal Peterson earned a shutout in his first start since Dec. 6.
With the Wings not having played since Tuesday's victory over San Jose at Little Caesars Arena — their game Thursday in Anaheim was rescheduled to Sunday after the Ducks had a COVID outbreak — there might have been some rust expected.
But the Wings were swarmed, not helping themselves defensively and the Kings were capitalizing.
"This is different from the other road games, we weren't close in the first period," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We have to play way better than we did in the first to have any chance to win.
"You get into the game and it appeared to me we had a whole bunch of guys who weren't ready to execute and play and when you do that, you're lucky if you don't get down. We were down and could have been down more if Ned (goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic) hadn't been real good. They played like a team that was urgent and understood those two points were critical — and we did not."
Danault put back a rebound in the slot at 6:27 of the first period, and Doughty made it 2-0 with a shot from the point that Nedelkovic never saw with traffic in front of him.
Still, the Wings were only down two goals after that ugly period. But despite improvement in the middle 20 minutes, the Wings found themselves trailing 3-0 after Kempe got a step down wing and snapped a shot past Nedeljkovic.
The 27 shots Los Angels had in the first period tied a season-high in the NHL — and were tied for second-most allowed in Wings' franchise history, tying the 27 Los Angeles had against the Wings in the second period on Jan. 7, 2010.
"We didn't win puck battles, we didn't move our feet and we didn't get pucks behind them, cheated on 50-50 battle for offense, it all resulted in playing in our end and giving up real chances," Blashill said "We are way better hockey team than that. But you can't allow that to happen, the urgency has to be way better."