Red Wings’ final flurry can’t overcome slow start against Kings

Detroit News

By the time it appeared the Red Wings were fully into Saturday’s game in Los Angeles, playing the way they’d like to be playing and committed, it was too late.

Too many breakdowns earlier on had put the Wings in a difficult spot, and led to a 4-3 Los Angeles victory.

There were positives, but on the whole, a frustrating way to begin a four-game road trip.

“When we play our game, it’s effective,” forward David Perron said. “We have to do it from the start and not wait.”

The Wings allowed a goal nine seconds into Saturday’s game. They officially allowed two Kings power-play goals, but in essence it was three, as Los Angeles scored another goal just as a Wings’ power play was expiring.

Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 17 of 21 shots, and didn’t have his best game. On the whole, there are many areas overall the Wings can improve upon on this trip.

“We can’t outscore our mistakes, and we didn’t (Saturday),” coach Derek Lalonde told reporters afterward. “Our mistakes ended up in the back of our net.”

Lalonde liked the fact the Wings allowed a scarcity of Kings’ scoring attempts throughout the game.

“That’s a pretty good effort,” said Lalonde, who was pleased with the urgency the Wings showed in the final 20 minutes. “But we need more consistency throughout our game. Special teams is part of it. We blew a faceoff assignment to begin the game. Mistakes ended up on the back of our net.

“On the whole with the process, we gave ourselves a chance. (There was) urgency (later in the game), we won a few more puck battles which led to more zone time. Just frustrating we left some plays out there.”

Maybe it was, partially, the long trip to the West Coast and the quick turnaround to playing a game. Part of it is the Kings, and playing a quality opponent. But the opening 40 minutes, because of the Wings’ slim margin for error, wasn’t a recipe to win.

“The first two periods, just not good enough on any level and it starts with me, too,” forward Oskar Sundqvist said. “The third period, that’s what we’re taking from this game. We need to play like that for 60 minutes and we’ll win a lot of hockey games in this league.

“When we’re playing our game and being simple and getting pucks deep, that’s when we’re dangerous, grinding teams. We’ve been getting away from it a little bit.”

Making an impact

The line of Joe Veleno centering Jonatan Berggren and Austin Czarnik saw fourth-line minutes, for the most part, but made a positive impact for a second consecutive game.

Their shift in the first period gave the Wings momentum, drew a Kings’ penalty, and Dominik Kubalik tied the game 1-1 on the resulting power play.

The line was noticeable on several shifts, and as the game went on, Lalonde played Berggren (playing in his second NHL game), with Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond, while Veleno was also bumped up in the lineup.

Lalonde said the line was “going. Veleno, Czarnik and Berggren line was a real good line because they were working, so we tried to sprinkle them in (throughout the lineup).”

Berggren played 15 minutes 32 seconds, and saw 1:13 on the power play, while tying Dylan Larkin and Kubalik for the team lead with three shots.

Veleno had two hits in just under 13 minutes, as did Czarnik in 10:47, of which 1:25 was on the power play.

Ice chips

Tyler Bertuzzi is likely to return Tuesday in Anaheim. Bertuzzi hasn’t played since injuring his hand blocking a shot the second game of the season in New Jersey. Elmer Soderblom (lower body), who was injured blocking a shot Thursday, didn’t play Saturday and is day-to-day.

… The Wings had no answer on the penalty kill Saturday against the Kings, and Lalonde felt the reason was obvious.

“Missed clears,” Lalonde said. “We had two missed clears which is the kiss of death, two goals directly (linked to missed clears). Some broken plays and we couldn’t keep it out of our net on the penalty kill.”

… Los Angeles swept the two-game season series from the Wings (the first game went to overtime) and stretched the Wings’ losing streak against the Kings to six games, only one win in the last 10 games against the Kings.

Twitter: @tkulfan

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