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Kings can't overcome Detroit's early onslaught

by Alex Kinkopf / Los Angeles Kings

DETROIT – First period struggles hampered the Kings again Friday night, dropping their third straight game 5-2 to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.

The Kings haven’t made things easy for themselves so far on this road trip, falling behind early before they can find their feet in all three games thus far. Tuesday night in Philadelphia, the Kings allowed the Flyers 20 first period shots, and on Thursday in Pittsburgh, the Kings took four minor penalties in the first period.

Friday night in Detroit, the Kings found themselves glaring at a four-goal deficit after the first period, two of the Red Wings’ tallies coming on the power play.

After settling down in the second period, Alec Martinez chipped away at Detroit’s lead, putting the Kings on the board midway through the second for his first goal of the season.

Martinez, who carried the puck into Detroit’s zone along the right side, fired a back-hander at Detroit’s Jimmy Howard, Mike Richards jabbed at a rebound, and Martinez swung around the back of the net, slamming home a loose puck that came from Richards’ rebound attempt.

Martinez’s goal was the first by a Kings defenseman this season.

Early in the third period, Tyler Toffoli got the Kings to within two with an aggressive forecheck during a penalty kill. Toffoli won possession of the puck down low behind Detroit’s net, fed Robyn Regehr a pass atop the point, then drove to the net to bury the rebound from Regehr’s shot.

Toffoli’s goal, his sixth of the season, was the third he’s scored this season while shorthanded – he leads the NHL in that department.

Moments after the Kings’ deficit was cut to two, Dustin Brown was awarded a penalty shot, but could cash-in on the opportunity, failing to beat Jimmy Howard between the five-hole.

The Kings’ game drastically improved from the first period, but they couldn’t inch any closer toward Detroit’s lead, and Pavel Datsyuk tacked on an empty-net goal with just over a minute remaining to extend the Red Wings’ lead to 5-2, the night’s eventual final score.

The Kings are now 0-5-1 in their last six visits to Joe Louis Arena, they haven’t won a game in Detroit since March 9, 2011. Overall the Kings are 3-7-1 against Detroit in their last 11 meetings.

Justin Williams led all Kings players in shots (5), Brayden McNabb in hits (5), Alec Martinez in blocked shots (4), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (27:04).

The Kings have still yet to win a game on the road, they’re 0-2-2 away from STAPLES Center this season.

Now 6-3-2 on the season, and 0-2-1 on their current five-game road trip, the Kings will head to Raleigh, NC to take on the Carolina Hurricanes Sunday afternoon at PNC Arena, the puck is slated to drop at 2:00PM PT. The Hurricanes have yet to win a game this season.

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