The Los Angeles Kings dropped their second consecutive game Sunday, allowing the game-winning goal to the Detroit Red Wings with just 4.5 seconds left in regulation. Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson found the puck on his stick just before the final buzzer sounded, and fired a shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick to give his team a 3-2 victory.
Los Angeles won a face off with 14 seconds remaining, but defenseman Drew Doughty's attempt to clear the zone fell short. Doughty slapped the puck towards the blue line, but didn't get enough, flipping it right onto the stick of the Red Wings' defenseman. Ericsson's slap shot from the point made its way through the legs of Quick, and slowly trickled past the goal line.
Ericsson and his Red Wings teammates weren't the only ones happy about the games end result.
“The funniest thing is actually that one of the linesmen was thanking me after I scored, and he said, ‘Thank you so much, I really had to go pee. I wouldn’t last overtime,’ so that was kind of funny.”
Although he was responsible for the biggest moment of the afternoon, Ericsson deflected the credit to his goaltender Jimmy Howard,
“Without Jimmy, we wouldn’t have [had] a chance today," Ericsson said. "I think [the Kings] were better throughout the game. He made some really good saves, and he really kept us in the game the first two periods. We owe Jimmy this win.”
The Kings fought hard on offense all afternoon mustering up a season-high 47 shots on goal, but still had trouble finding the net behind Howard. Plenty of those shots translated into good scoring chances throughout the game, but Howard was impressive in stopping 45 of 47 shots, helping his team improve to 7-4-1 on the season.
With his team trailing 2-1 late in the third, defenseman Alec Martinez finally broke through tying the game with just 52 seconds remaining and Quick on the bench for the extra attacker. The Detroit native got himself free in front of the net and backhanded a loose rebound past Howard, but the Kings failed to get at least a point after conceding the late game-winning goal a mere 48 seconds later.
Center Anze Kopitar scored the only other Kings goal in a losing effort. Slava Voynov and Rob Scuderi earned the assists on Kopitar's first-period goal.
Defenseman Keaton Ellerby played his first game in a Kings uniform after being acquired on Friday in a trade with the Florida Panthers. He recorded one hit and an even defensive rating in over 18 minutes of action on Sunday.
Despite a losing effort the Kings played one of their better games of the season, creating quality scoring chances mainly in the first and second periods. Captain Dustin Brown felt the team played well offensively, but also credited Howard for coming up big.
The defending champs are off to a poor start, sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference and dropping to 3-5-2 on the season following Sunday's loss. Although they played well, the Kings failed to pick up any ground in the standings, and with just 38 games left in a condensed season, they'll need to start producing points in order to have a chance at defending the Stanley Cup.
"At the end of the day, we didn't get the result that we want…" Brown stated. "That was probably our best 60 minutes in a long time. Now we’ve got to forget about the last 10 seconds. We’ve got a game tomorrow, and probably, especially in a shortened season we won’t have time to sit here and talk about ‘what-ifs’.”
Los Angeles is 1-3-0 on their current five-game road trip, and will play the finale of that set on Monday against the St. Louis Blues at 5 PM PST.
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