Detroit Red Wings’ rally falls short in 4-3 loss to L.A. Kings for 3rd straight defeat

Detroit Free Press

LOS ANGELES — The Detroit Red Wings kept battling, kept trying for the redemption they sought.

Their Saturday game against the Los Angeles Kings came just two days after a setback that left the Wings searching for a bounce-back. They overcame a bad start, and were able to whittle a three-goal deficit to one, but fell just short in a 4-3 loss at Crypto.com Arena.

“Bottom line is, you give up 21 shots on the road, maybe 9-10 at most chances against, and you score three goals – we’ve got to find a way to get a point,” coach Derek Lalonde said.

Dominik Kubalik scored on a power play in the first period, as did Dylan Larkin in the third period. The Kings also got two power play goals, but while the special teams battle essentially was a draw, it took the Wings until the third period to make it hard on Kings backup goaltender Cal Petersen. They pulled Alex Nedeljkovic for an extra attacker with about four minutes to go, and Filip Hronek was able to score on a slap shot with 2:01 to play.

“We had a good push in the third,” David Perron said. “Larks led the way there, really almost willed some points for us there.

“.We just as a group have to bring it all together, don’t let us get in a hole before we start pushing like that. That’s probably the lesson.”

The Wings (7-5-3) next play at Anaheim on Tuesday, then continue the trip at San Jose (on Thursday) and Columbus (on Nov. 19).

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Embattled

The first few minutes Saturday looked like a continuation of Thursday’s third period, when the Wings allowed six goals in an 8-2 loss. The Kings scored off the opening draw, with Carl Grundstrom getting off a clean shot from the bottom of the right circle that eluded Nedeljkovic just nine seconds in. That led to a tense couple minutes for the Wings, where the Kings cycled the puck relentlessly. It took the fourth line — Joe Veleno, Jonatan Berggren and Austin Czarnik — to deliver an energy shift and get possession of the puck, bringing it into L.A.’s zone. Berggren, playing in just his second game, had a shot on net and drew a penalty. That was when Kubalik came through with his seventh goal of the season, scoring on a blast from the right circle to make it 1-1. All that, and it was just 4:09 into the game.

Shorthanded

Ben Chiarot has added physicality to the lineup, but his manhandling of opponents landed him the penalty box in Thursday’s game, and he was whistled once in the first period Saturday and again in the second period. Kevin Fiala scored while Chiarot was in the box for holding Gabriel Vilardi, giving the Kings a 2-1 lead at 13:21 of the first period. Chiarot was called for boarding Blake Lizotte at 4:20 of the second period, and while the Wings technically killed that off, they hadn’t fully reformed as a five-man unit when Sean Durzi scored at 6:23.

Empowered

The Wings’ chances of rallying diminished when the Kings converted on another power play, at 13:41 of the second period. This time it was Larkin serving and again it was Durzi scoring off a shot from the blue line. That made it 4-1, Kings. The Wings came out with a better third period, and earned a man advantage when Larkin drew a hooking call on Phillip Danault. They were able to convert when Larkin finished a feed from Oskar Sundqvist, making it a two-goal game with 18 minutes to go.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.

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Her latest book, “On the Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Draft,” is available from  Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

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