LOS ANGELES –
The Kings dedicated the latter portion of their morning skate to the power play, and it paid off Monday night as they potted two man-advantage goals en route to their 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings at STAPLES Center.
Ironically, it was the Kings’ penalty kill that provided the spark at the beginning of the game. Immediately after killing off Anze Kopitar’s tripping infraction that was called 29 seconds into the game, the Kings struck for the evening’s first goal.
Kopitar, fresh out of the penalty box, skated into a clearing chip from Milan Lucic and through the neutral zone into Detroit territory on a two-on-one with Tyler Toffoli. Kopitar forced Mike Green to make a premature read on the play, stickhandled around the sprawling defenseman, and fed Toffoli a back-door pass which he tipped home.
For Toffoli, it was his 20th goal of the season.
Tomas Tatar tied the game for Detroit with under five minutes to play in the first, and Alexey Marchenko gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead with 1:44 left in the opening frame, scoring his second career NHL goal.
Late in the second period, while the Kings worked on their second power play of the evening, Anze Kopitar wristed home his 12th goal of the season to knot the score 2-2.
Upon winning an offensive zone faceoff back to Jake Muzzin, Kopitar made his way to the high left side-boards, where Muzzin found him with a pass. Kopitar, from the top of the left circle, beat Jimmy Howard high to the blocker side with the help of a Milan Lucic screen.
Entering the third tied, the Kings took advantage of starting the final period on the power play when Alec Martinez
one-timed home the go-ahead goal.
Anze Kopitar carried the puck deep into Detroit territory, fed Drew Doughty a pass atop the right point, who then found Alec Martinez with a cross-ice feed. Martinez beat Howard with a shot low through the five-hole.
Martinez’s goal, his fifth of the season, proved to be the night’s eventual game-winner. Three of Martinez’s five goals this season have been game-winners.
With 52 seconds to play in regulation, Dwight King added an empty-netter.
Anze Kopitar scored four points (1G, 3A) for just the sixth time in his NHL career Monday night; the Kings are 5-0-1 when Kopitar hits the four-point mark during a single game.
Anze Kopitar (1G, 3A) led all Kings players in points scored (4), Anze Kopitar and Michael Mersch in shots taken (4), Dustin Brown and Luke Schenn in hits delivered (4), five different players in shots blocked (2), and Drew Doughty in minutes played (26:04). Jonathan Quick made 25 saves in the win.
The Kings, after a four-day break, will close out their four-game home stand Saturday afternoon when they host the Ottawa Senators at STAPLES Center, where the puck is scheduled to drop just after 1:00 PM PST.