This is the first of three meetings between Los Angeles and Detroit this season. After tonight, the two teams will meet on Wednesday, February 27 at Staples Center and Wednesday, April 24 – the second to last game of the regular season – at Joe Louis Arena.
Lots more after the jump…
Last year, the Kings finished 1-3-0 against the Red Wings, going 1-1-0 at home and 0-2-0 on the road. Detroit outscored Los Angeles 18-11 in the season series. The Kings’ lone win came in the final meeting of the season, a 5-2 win at Staples Center on March 13, which was part of L.A.’s season-high six-game winning streak. Jonathan Quick has a career record of 6-9-0 against the Red Wings with a 3.16 goals against average and .899 save percentage. He started all four games against Detroit last season, though he was pulled after allowing three goals in nine minutes in an 8-2 road loss on December 17 between Terry Murray’s firing and the hiring of Darryl Sutter. Jonathan Bernier has appeared in three career games against the Red Wings, starting once, posting a record of 0-1-0 with a 4.51 GAA and .810 Sv%. Jimmy Howard will start on back to back days for Detroit; he is 5-5-0 with a 2.82 GAA and a .909 Sv% lifetime against the Kings.
Los Angeles’ last win in Detroit came on March 9, 2011, when Jonathan Quick earned first star honors by turning aside 28 of 29 shots in a 2-1 victory.
The Red Wings are playing the second game of a back-to-back set. Yesterday afternoon they defeated Edmonton 2-1 at home on goals from Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall. Despite entering the game with the 29th-ranked penalty kill, Detroit killed off seven of eight short-handed circumstances. All three of the game’s goals were scored on the power play. The Red Wings were 2-for-7 on the man advantage and have now won two in a row.
Goals/Game: LAK – 25th / 2.11; DET – 17th / 2.64
Goals Against/Game: LAK – 21st / 3.00; DET – 19th / 2.73
Power Play: LAK – 27th / 11.6%; DET – 26th / 14.0%
Penalty Kill: LAK – 17th / 80.0%; DET – 26th / 72.2%
Shots/Game: LAK – t-14th / 29.0; DET – 10th / 30.0
Shots Against/Game: LAK – 2nd / 24.6; DET – 10th / 28.0
Faceoffs: LAK – 23rd / 48.0%; DET – 3rd / 54.6%
Projected Lines – Los Angeles
Simon Gagne – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown
Kyle Clifford – Jeff Carter – Justin Williams
Dwight King – Mike Richards – Jordan Nolan
Brad Richardson – Jarret Stoll – Trevor Lewis
Keaton Ellerby – Drew Doughty
Rob Scuderi – Slava Voynov
Alec Martinez – Davis Drewiske
Notes: Brad Richardston, Jarret Stoll, Trevor Lewis and Colin Fraser were paired together at practice on Saturday, and it is possible that Fraser would be inserted into that line in place of either Richardson or Lewis. Jonathan Bernier may draw a start in Detroit or St. Louis, but I’m banking on Quick opening the back-to-back set. As always, line pairings are educated assessments and not definite alignments.
Projected Lines – Detroit
Johan Franzen – Henrik Zetterberg – Damien Brunner
Valtteri Filppula – Pavel Datsyuk – Daniel Cleary
Tomas Tatar – Justin Abdelkader – Joakim Andersson
Drew Miller – Cory Emmerton – Jordin Tootoo
Niklas Kronwall – Brian Lashoff
Ian White – Jonathan Ericsson
Jakub Kindl – Kyle Quincey
Notes: Tomas Tatar has seen time alongside Valtteri Filppula and Pavel Datsyuk; his spot could be interchangeable with Daniel Cleary’s. Todd Bertuzzi (back) is doubtful. Carlo Colaiacovo, Brendan Smith, Mikael Samuelsson, Jonas Gustavsson, Jan Mursak and Darren Helm are injured. As always, line pairings are educated assessments and not definite alignments.
Anze Kopitar, on whether he was surprised by the line pairings at practice on Saturday:
“No. I think it’s pretty common in every coach’s mind if things are not going the way they’re supposed to go, you mix and match and try to find some chemistry and maybe spread it around now with Jeff going in the middle. Just have three solid lines, I guess – not that we didn’t have it before – it just wasn’t working for us. Every change is welcome.”
Kopitar, on what the team has to do to improve offense:
“The chances are there, but maybe not the Grade-As that we’ve wanted. We’ve just got to attack the middle more, and attack the net a little more. We’ve had a lot of shots lately, but most of them are from the outside. We’ve got to get into the…scoring areas.”
Henrik Zetterberg, on Detroit’s 2-1 win over Edmonton:
“It was a tight game. PK overall did a good job tonight. [The Oilers] got one goal, but other than that, they had a lot of opportunities and we played better than we have before.”