On the same night that the USA beat Canada in the Junior World Championship and the Columbus Blue Jackets had their 16 game winning streak snapped in a 5-0 loss to Washington, the LA Kings took on the Detroit Red Wings but came out flat and lost 4-0. LA was coming off two big wins vs San Jose and looking to build a winning streak when the struggling Detroit Red Wings came to to the Staples Center on Jan 5th With Peter Budaj taking the night off, backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff was blistered with 3 goals in the first period as the defense didn’t play too well. Zatkoff actually made some great saves to keep it as close as it was. Detroit added one goal in the 3rd.
The stars of the game were rookie goalie Jared Coreau providing the shutout while Thomas Vanek had 2 goals. Coreau is also a backup and on the team since #1 goalie Jimmy Howard has been out with an injury. While Jonathan Quick has been out all season, the goal-tending has not been the issue. The biggest problems this year has been the inconsistency of the team and the lack of scoring depth. Detroit’s streak of over 20+ years of making the playoffs is in jeopardy this season but this game helped them improve their ranking.
Jeff Carter has been on fire and is the second leading goal scorer in the league (only behind Sidney Crosby) but there hasn’t been too much more. Tiffoli is expected back soon which will be a huge help but others need to pick up their game including Kopitar-only 3 goals all season, Dustin Brown-4 goals, Setoguchi -4 goals, Gaborik-2 goals. As a matter of fact, no forwards have more than 5 goals besides Carter, Tiffoli and Tanner Pearson.
I interviewed Drew Doughty after the game. Win or lose, he always has class and gives a great interview with details. I asked him what can the team do to improve some of the scoring. Drew said, “ We take a lot of shots from the perimeter so we want to get more screens otherwise it allows the goalie puts his trapper on it. We need to get more grade A shots from just outside the crease rather than the perimeter at the goalies pads. He also said we love playing at home and we need everyone in their A game to win games and playing to the best of their ability”. What do you think of the top scorers like Kopitar and Brown having trouble scoring this year. He said “I don’t know the exact reason as they are playing their best and hardest. They are playing good defensive hockey and the right way”.
I asked Jordan Nolan about the game and he said, “We don’t see this team too often and they play a different style. We came out flat and guys didn’t get ready for this game I guess”
Not the same for Coach Sutter who said the team played well but when I asked him similar questions, he shrugged it off and said.
I asked Coach Sutter about the inconsistency of the team. “I think we are and played as good as we could. We don’t have a lot of firepower. It is not a team consistency. It is more individual. I asked him if he can explain some of the top players lack of scoring and he said, “I can’t”.
About the game he said “ The First period was too wide open for our team. We lost coverage and had turnovers and a lost rebound. We had lost of chances and Tanner’s penalty shot could have changed things. Guys were not as sharp as they should have been”.
More at https://www.nhl.com/kings