– Los Angeles Kings
goalie Jonathan Quick
doesn't have any problem winning games at Joe Louis Arena. The same cannot be said of the Detroit Red Wings
After allowing six goals to Detroit and getting pulled in a 7-4 home loss on Feb. 28, Quick bounced back on Wednesday night with his second outstanding performance in the Motor City in as many visits this season. Quick made 28 saves to lead the Kings to a 2-1 win, sending Detroit (39-20-8) to its third straight home defeat and fourth consecutive game overall without a victory.
It also bumped the Kings up from eighth to seventh in the Western Conference -- they're tied with Phoenix at 79 points but are ahead because they have played fewer games.
"Great team win, but we've got to keep going," Quick said. "Just because we get a win doesn't mean we have any breathing room at all. We want to make sure we're in the top 8 at the end of the year."
Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown scored for the Kings in the second period, while Darren Helm had Detroit's lone goal -- his 10th of the season, giving the Wings 11 players in double figures in goals.
But as was the case in the Kings' last visit on Dec. 13, Quick was the game's first star. He wasn't as busy as he was in a 51-save, 5-0 win three months earlier, but still made a number of highlight-reel saves.
It was a 180-degree turnaround from Feb. 28 in L.A., when the Wings beat Quick six times and sent him to the bench in a 7-4 win.
"They got the best of me (in Los Angeles)," said Quick, who's stopped 79 of 80 shots combined in the two games in Detroit. "In your head, you know what happened last time out, but at the end of the day you're just (thinking about) today's game. You're just trying to make one save at a time and make the saves for your team in order to win."
His ability to do that in this game kept the Kings (37-25-5) in the game early, then helped them protect the one-goal lead in the third.
"He made some really Quick saves, pardon the pun," said recently-acquired Kings forward Dustin Penner, who assisted on Kopitar's goal. "That's what you need with great goaltenders. It's those saves that you need and don't maybe expect that keep you in games and eventually win games like tonight's."
One that stands out was a blocker save Quick made against Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall early in the second to keep it 1-0 Detroit. Valtteri Filppula skated from below the goal line and found Kronwall with a perfect feed for a one-timer. Somehow, Quick dashed over and got his blocker on it.
"At that point I'm just trying to fill space and hope to cover as much net as possible," Quick said. "I didn't know where he was putting it. I just got fortunate it hit my blocker."
Moments later, Kopitar's power-play goal off a rebound tied it 1-1 at 7:50 of the second - the Kings' first power-play goal in three games and 13 tries. Brown scored the game-winner almost seven minutes later by deflecting a blue-line blast by Alec Martinez past goalie Jimmy Howard from in front of the crease.
That play gnawed at the Red Wings after the game because of what happed just seconds before Martinez's shot from the blue line. While trying to clear the puck from the defensive zone, Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom got hit in the mouth by Michal Handzus' stick without a penalty called.
Played continued and the Kings wound up putting the puck in the net. Lidstrom said he asked for an explanation about why no penalty was called and was told the officials never saw it.
"I was bleeding and they still said they didn't see it when it happened," said Lidstrom, who needed stitches on the inside of his lower lip. "Moments afterward they get the winning goal and it should have been a four-minute power play for us the other way. Instead they scored the game-winner."
Detroit had plenty of chances to tie it, but Quick was just too good. He nearly got another shutout in Detroit, were it not for Helm's goal - which ended with the puck slipping through the pads after a blast from the right circle and rolling over the goal line.
After that, nothing got past Quick.
Just before the save against Kronwall in the second, he also made great saves against Kris Draper and Pavel Datsyuk - both of whom turned away on good shots from the slot. It was the complete opposite of what happened just nine days earlier against the Red Wings in Los Angeles.
"That's a true professional," Penner said. "You're going to have those off days where you let in six, but as the old adage goes, it's not how many times you fall - it's how many times you get up. He answered the bell tonight."
Quick came up huge again in the third, snagging a one-timer by Filppula out of midair to keep it 2-1 with 8:29 left. The Red Wings also put pressure on late in the game, but couldn't tie it.
The loss dropped Detroit's home record in the past 19 games here to just 7-10-2, but Red Wings coach Mike Babcock thought the effort overall was acceptable.
He credited Quick along with Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and center Jarret Stoll for making things difficult. Stoll won 12 of 16 faceoffs (75 percent), while Doughty cleared the defensive zone a number of times.
"I thought we were fine," Babcock said. "We came at 'em. They've got a good team, too. They've got good lines and I thought they played well. Doughty was really good on the back end and skated the puck out of trouble. Quick was real good and Stoll was real good in the faceoff circle. That kept our possession at times away from us."