Kings need to start thinking outside box after 5-2 loss to Red Wings

Written By kolimtiga on Sabtu, 01 November 2014 | 12.56

Hook, hold, go to the penalty box and watch the other team score.

This is hockey's version of rinse and repeat. Or what the Kings just did within about 24 hours in Pittsburgh and in Detroit.

For the second time in two nights, the Kings allowed two first-period power-play goals Friday, on their way to a 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena that kept them winless on the road.

"It was very similar to the Pittsburgh game," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "I thought we were chasing the puck."

The difference was that they scored goals — unlike Thursday's loss in Pittsburgh. After falling behind 4-0 after the first 15-plus minutes, they prevented it from turning into a bigger mess, pulling to within two goals and getting a chance to cut the deficit to one in the third period when Brown was awarded a penalty shot at 2:29.

But he was denied by Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.

"If I score on the penalty shot, it might be a different game," Brown said.

In Game 11, the Kings finally got a goal from a defenseman. Alec Martinez became the first Kings defenseman to score this season, finishing off a determined effort off the rush with a backhander at 10:41 of the second period, cutting the Red Wings' lead to 4-1.

Tyler Toffoli's short-handed effort, at 1:48 of the third period, was his sixth goal of the season and third with his team a man down. That made it 4-2, but the deficit was too big to overcome.

Toffoli later said he didn't think the Kings were prepared to play at the start.

Forward Trevor Lewis returned to the lineup, playing his first game since getting injured in the season opener.

Still, the Kings are missing two major offensive threats, injured forwards Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, and a top-four defenseman in Slava Voynov. Kopitar is hoping to come back as early as Sunday at Carolina. Gaborik's return on the trip would be a bonus and Voynov is suspended indefinitely by the league.

"Injuries are not a part of it," Brown said. "We have plenty of guys that are capable. We just need to play better. If you look at the last three games, all three are very similar games. Put the other team on the power play early, dig a hole and have to try to dig out. We've shown we can do it. But it's not an easy way to do it."

For Detroit, Gustav Nyquist scored twice on the power play and star center Pavel Datsyuk scored twice, his first goal a typical vintage effort in which he swiped the puck from Kings forward Dwight King in the L.A. zone and beat goalie Jonathan Quick to make it 2-0.

Kings Coach Darryl Sutter talked about the team's shortcomings.

"We've got to get contributions from everybody," he said. "We've played some guys more than they've had to. Some guys less than we've had to. It's all part and parcel with what is going on with our team right now.

"It's not a very consistent lineup and it's hurt us. It's cost us games. We talked about it when we had the long homestand — that we were going to have a tough trip and we had lots going on.

Lewis was the first of the three injured forwards to return. Earlier in the day, the Kings sent forward David Van der Gulik back to their minor league affiliate in Manchester, N.H. He had played one game on an emergency-recall basis.

Against Detroit, Lewis logged 12 minutes 34 seconds of ice time and assisted on the Martinez goal. He felt as though he had gotten past his injury.

"I felt pretty good," he said. "Obviously coming back after that many games, you're a little rushed. You have a lot more time than you think out there. As the game went on, I gained a little more confidence back and tried to slow it down."

Twitter: @reallisa

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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