The Los Angeles Kings found an unusual way to secure their first victory of the season and will play at Detroit on Monday, seeking another notch in the win column but not necessarily in the same fashion.
The Kings’ game against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday was indeed wild, as they pulled out a 7-6 victory at the start of a five-game road swing. They lost at home to Vegas and Seattle prior to the trip.
“Strange night,” head coach Todd McLellan said. “Maybe that’s what we needed to get a win and find a way. (Now) rest, and get ready for Detroit.”
Adrian Kempe led the offense with two goals and an assist, including the game-winner at 8:03 of the third period. Matt Roy, Alex Iafallo and Gabriel Vilardi each contributed a goal and an assist, while Anze Kopitar had three assists.
Los Angeles scored a combined four goals in its first two games.
“If you had told us we were going to score seven goals, I would have been jumping for joy,” McLellan said. “It’s the giving up six that isn’t the ideal recipe. It’s a really hard game to explain. I’m not sure we’re going to give six goals up and win a game again this year.”
Cal Petersen made 29 saves for Los Angeles but didn’t feel like a winning goaltender.
“I haven’t been in a game like that, I don’t think, in my career,” Petersen said. “I’m glad I can check that one off the box with a win. Hopefully, never have to win one like that again.”
The Red Wings are off to a strong start under new coach Derek Lalonde. They blanked Montreal on Friday, then collected a 5-2 road win at New Jersey on Saturday.
Ben Chiarot, David Perron and Dominik Kubalik scored their first goals since joining Detroit via free agency this offseason.
Dylan Larkin scored in the final second of the second period to give the Red Wings a 4-2 advantage and they clamped down defensively to close out the victory.
“There’s been a commitment in these six periods to play the right way and do things right,” Lalonde said. “The third period was our best period, which is a great sign. We got above pucks, managed the puck and we ate a lot of pucks. Blocked a lot of shots in the third period, which was a good sign.”
It’s also a good sign that the players brought in by GM Steve Yzerman are making an immediate impact.
“Last year a game like this would have been a lot closer,” Larkin said. “Our veteran leadership, guys who’ve been in big situations throughout their careers, really stepped up vocally on the bench and really hammering to play the right way the last 20 minutes.”
The downside could be an upper-body injury to Larkin’s linemate, Tyler Bertuzzi. He exited the game in the second period after blocking a shot.
Detroit will be playing its third game in four nights on Monday but then has three days to recover before returning to action at Chicago on Friday.
–Field Level Media