Los Angeles Hockey: Drew Miller

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

December, 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.

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Kings: Not even a 3-1 deficit can sour this mood

February, 28, 2011
After the 1st period:

Detroit Red Wings 3, Kings 1

The good: It’s actually a great day to be a Kings' fan. The organization went out Monday and traded for a top-shelf left wing in Dustin Penner and didn’t lose any players off the current roster. Of course, Penner isn’t here yet but he should play Thursday night against the visiting Coyotes. The other big news was the four-year contract extension signed by right wing Justin Williams, who is tied for the team lead with 20 goals. Check back later for a pre-game video interview with Kings general manager Dean Lombardi discussing these pivotal moves. The Kings gave their fans a reason to cheer early on when Michal Handzus scored just over four minutes into the game on assists by Jarret Stoll and Anze Kopitar.

The bad: Kings goalie Jonathan Quick allowed two early goals and both took the same route, right through his legs. The first goal had no business getting by him. Drew Miller slid a shot from a 90-degree angle and Quick took a swipe at the puck with his stick but missed. The puck continued through his legs, hit one of his skates and was redirected past the goal line. Thirty one seconds later, Jiri Hudler took a shot from just inside the blue line and Daniel Cleary deflected the rubber through Quick’s five-hole for a 2-1 lead with just under 13 minutes remaining. The Kings were then called for back-to-back high-sticking penalties that had Kings’ fans booing as loud as we’ve heard this season. The first was on defenseman Matt Greene after he laid a hard lick on Tomas Holmstrom. The only problem was, Greene’s stick never touched Holmstrom. The Kings killed that penalty but couldn’t kill the second, this one on Stoll. Nicklas Lidstrom sent a laser passed Quick with 2:16 left, giving the Red Wings their 3-1 lead.

The in between: Since Penner has not yet arrived and Detroit is not prone to fight, the Kings designated enforcer Kevin Westgarth as a healthy scratch and inserted Peter Harrold in the lineup for the first time since Jan. 6. Harrold, primarily a defenseman, is playing a fourth-line forward role but was limited to just three shifts in the first period.