Wings beat Kings to keep playoff hopes alive

DETROIT — The Red Wings edged closer yet to securing their 21-season playoff streak, winning for the second time in three days.

They dispatched the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, 3-1, on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena. The Nashville Predators await Thursday night in the regular-season home finale.

Pavel Datsyuk scored what for him was just a typical, ho-hum goal. Jordin Tootoo used his third goal of the season to break a third-period tie, netting the game-winner.

Johan Franzen scored an insurance goal that gave him six goals his last six games.

Captain Henrik Zetterberg picked up two assists to give him five his last two games. Tonight’s victory pushed the Wings to 52 points and past Columbus into eighth place in the Western Conference. They also reached more ROWs (Regulation or Overtime Wins) at 20 than Columbus can achieve even if the Blue Jackets win their remaining two games. Columbus plays at Dallas Thursday night, and hosts Nashville on Saturday, the same night Detroit plays at Dallas.

Seventh place Minnesota, which has 53 points, finish the season with Colorado and Edmonton.

The Wings faced an opponent that had played the night before in Minnesota, and took advantage of that. Jonathan Quick had to make six saves just in the first four minutes. The Wings got a power play before five minutes had passed, but it was over in 10 seconds when Kyle Quincey was called for tripping. Too many men cost the Wings midway through the period, leaving them shorthanded, but the Kings only squeezed one shot on JImmy Howard.

Howard saw just four shots the entire first period. Quick saw 13, one of which came after Datsyuk snuck along the right boards, passed the puck through the legs of Robyn Regehr, and slipped a wrist shot on net.

As so often happens in such games, where one team is wildly outshooting the other, it’s the quieter one that still strikes first. Sure enough, at 5:28 of the second period, the Kings went ahead 1-0 when Kyle Clifford got a piece of Trevor Lewis’ rebound and had a solid aim into the net.

The Wings got even at 10:32, when Datsyuk schooled Drew Doughty. Sliding in from the left side, Datsyuk slid the puck around Doughty in a nano-second, leaving Doughty to collect his dignity and Quick to fish the puck out of his net. Howard helped keep the score even with a save on Tyler Toffoli late in the period, as Toffoli tried to redirect Mike Richard’s shot on net.

Both teams played more cautiously at the start of the third period, but as the Kings’ tired legs slowed, the Wings pounced. They got the go-ahead goal at 5:42. Brendan Smith had the puck along the boards and sent a slick, backhand pass back to Patrick Eaves, who’d slid over from the left circle to the right. Eaves – one of the team’s few right-handed shooters, fired a shot that Tootoo deflected.

An interference call on Valtteri Filppula sent the Wings back on the penalty kill midway through the third period, but the Kings didn’t have much going to threaten.

The Wings got their second advantage of the game at with about seven minutes left, and Franzen picked up his 13th goal of the season after Zetterberg slipped a backhand pass into the crease, standing ground despite repeated relocation attempts by Matt Greene.

avatar

Posted by Tribune News Services

Leave a Reply