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Kings: Defense gets into (comedy) act in 8-2 loss to Detroit

12/17/2011

Detroit Red Wings 8, Kings 2

Eight keys to the game:

THE FACTS: Apparently, the problems aren’t just limited to the offensive end of the ice. The Kings, the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, allowed the most goals in a game in more than four years while getting held to two goals or less for the 11th straight game in the rout at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

THE STAT: The Kings actually out-shot the Red Wings, 29-27, but weren’t nearly as efficient. Detroit had five goals on its first 11 shots on net and six on its first 16.

TURNING POINT: Two minutes into the game and the Red Wings already led, 2-0, giving Kings’ fans a head start on their Saturday night plans. Kings defenseman Jack Johnson couldn’t connect on a pass to Trevor Lewis and Detroit took possession. Darren Helm took a shot that was saved by Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, but the rebound came out to Drew Miller who squeezed it past the goal line for a 1-0 lead. Fifteen seconds later, Jonathan Ericsson took a shot from the point that was deflected past Quick by Cory Emmerton for the second goal of his career and a 2-0 lead.

HOT: Kings defenseman Davis Drewiske has transformed from recurrent healthy scratch to the Kings best sniper on this four-game road trip. Drewiske scored his second goal in two games late in the first period to cut the deficit to 3-1. Prior to this week, Drewiske had scored just one NHL goal and that came two years ago into an empty net. The second line of Jarret Stoll, Justin Williams and Dustin Penner also carried their offensive load against Detroit, combining for a goal and four assists.

NOT: After allowing three goals on seven shots in the first period, Quick was given the hook in favor of Jonathan Bernier, the first time this season he hasn’t finished a game. Bernier wasn’t any better, allowing two goals on the first four shots he faced and five overall. Since Quick’s franchise-record three straight shutouts earlier this season, he has allowed 51 goals in 20 games for a 2.55 goals-against average and .906 save percentage, neither of which would rank among the top 20 goalkeepers in the NHL. Johnson, who grew up in suburban Detroit and played at the University of Michigan, was a career-high minus-4, dropping him to minus-17 in 15 career games against the Red Wings.

GOOD MOVE: Kings lame-duck coach John Stevens, who will soon be replaced by Darryl Sutter, showed some snarl by pulling Quick when he did. His predecessor, Terry Murray, likely would have waited until a fourth or fifth goal was scored. Quick’s exit did give the team some life, as they played their best hockey for the next 10 minutes, but that surge ended with Emmerton’s second goal with 1:25 left in the first period for a 4-1 lead.

BAD MOVE: The Kings twice cut the deficit to two goals before the third period, but each time the Red Wings answered a little more than a minute later to snuff out any momentum. They added a back-breaking goal with 22 seconds remaining in the second period to take a four-goal lead.

NOTABLE: The last time the Kings allowed eight goals in a game was Oct. 12, 2007, an 8-6 loss to visiting Boston. Bernier, a 19-year-old rookie at the time, made his third career start in the loss and allowed seven goals. He lost two days later to the Red Wings and did not return to the NHL for another 2 1/2 years ... The Kings have allowed 12 more goals than they’ve scored in first period this season.

UP NEXT: Monday at Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 p.m. (PT)