DETROIT (AP) — The Los Angeles Kings scored soon after the puck dropped for the first time in Detroit, and that was almost enough to finish off the offensively challenged Red Wings.
Derek Forbort had a goal 21 seconds into the game on the first shot, Nic Dowd scored a tie-breaking goal late in the second period and Tyler Toffoli scored twice in the third, lifting Los Angeles to a 4-1 victory Thursday night.
“We were good all night, and even when we took penalties we were good on the kills,” Toffoli said. “The Buffalo game was really a wake up for us, and we stepped up. We can’t stop now, though. We have to turn this into a streak.”
Los Angeles opened a nine-game trip that will last two-plus weeks with a 6-3 loss to the Sabres.
“I don’t consider this a long trip,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter insisted. “Everybody here is used to traveling.”
The Red Wings had two shots in the first, their lowest total for any period this season, and added just six more in the second.
“I was pretty much a spectator,” said Jeff Zatkoff, who stopped 17 of 18 shots he faced. “The guys did all the hard work and didn’t leave me much to do.”
Detroit’s Jimmy Howard stopped 27 shots.
Forbort put the Kings up early in the game, shooting through traffic and past Howard. A few minutes later, it looked like they were going to take a two-goal lead on Anze Kopitar’s shot that hit off the left post and caromed off the right post just outside of the goal line. The referee’s decision on the ice held up after video review.
Detroit’s Mike Green made it 1-all with 7:13 left in the first period, taking advantage of a perfectly placed pass in front of the net by Luke Glendening, who created space behind the net by stopping quickly with the puck in the corner and reversing the direction he was skating.
The Red Wings, though, could not generate much more offense during a game in which they gave up goals over the first two periods to players who had combined to score just three goals over the first two months of the season. They came close to scoring midway through the third period when Gustav Nyquist drew iron on a shot.
Desperate to score trailing by two goals, coach Jeff Blashill pulled Howard with about 5 minutes left to add an extra skater and the Kings ended up taking advantage with Toffoli shooting into an open net.
“We hadn’t scored and we hadn’t generated much,” Blashill said. “I felt like it was the right decision. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
Detroit has lost four straight, all at home, and has scored no more than one goal in a game during the slump.
The Red Wings were 0 for 4 on the power play, dropping them to 0 for 13 over the last three games with an extra skater. They have scored only one power-play goal in the last eight games.
“We’re losing a lot of games because of that,” Nyquist said.
NOTES: Los Aneles ended a seven-game losing streak against the Red Wings. … The Kings scratched F Devin Setoguchi, F Andy Andreoff and D Kevin Gravel. … Detroit scratched D Alexey Marchenko, D Brian Lashoff and F Tomas Jurco. … Los Angeles had dropped three of four.
Kings: Play at Pittsburgh on Friday night.
Red Wings: Host Anaheim, their fifth and final game of a home stand before playing 10 of 11 games on the road.
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