Detroit Red Wings stumble as the L.A. Kings dominate in a 4-0 victory on Saturday night

LOS ANGELES — 3 days after they got here in Southern California the Detroit Red Wings lastly got to play a video game, just for all of it to fail within 10 minutes.

The Los Angeles Kings broke down and batter the Wings the minute the puck dropped Saturday at Crypto.com Arena, handing the Wings a 4-0 loss that dropped them to 4-11-1 on the roadway.

Alex Nedeljkovic was barraged with shots as the Wings stopped working to play any much better defensively than they did offensively. It was as bad a video game as the Wings have actually played this season, similar to 2019-20 when they frequently fell back early and never ever recuperated.

“We weren’t ready to go,” captain Dylan Larkin stated. “We come in here and dip our toe in the water. We can’t play like that on the road. We weren’t ready to bring the battle to them.”

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Los Angeles outshot the Wings, 42-21.

Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault (24) fights with Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault (24) battles with Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (71) throughout the very first duration of an NHL hockey video game Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Los Angeles.

There was a poignant time out prior to the video game as a minute of silence was held to honor Teddy Balkind. The 10th-grade hockey gamer at St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, Connecticut, passed away in a terrible on-ice event on Thursday.

The Wings (16-16-3) shown up in Anaheim on Wednesday in advance of being set up to play the Ducks on Thursday, however COVID-19 problems with the Ducks resulted in that video game being delayed till Sunday. The Wings stated at the time they would have chosen to play Thursday due to the fact that “we were ready” — however they didn’t look all set Saturday. They enabled 27 shots versus in the very first duration, a season high for one duration, and summoned just 2 shots that very same duration. The video game went the complete 60 minutes, however the Wings were done after 10.

“We have to play way better than we did in the first to have any chance to win games,” coach Jeff Blashill stated. “I can’t answer why we came out and had such a poor performance in the first. You get into a game and it appeared to me that we had a whole bunch of guys that weren’t ready to execute, weren’t ready to play.

“They played like a group that was immediate, that comprehended that these 2 points were crucial, and we did not.”

Benn there, done that

The Wings caught a break 1:30 into the game when video review showed that puck did not completely cross the goal line on Brendan Lemieux’s disallowed goal. But from there it got ugly: Phillip Danault scored at 6:27, seconds after a penalty to Joe Veleno expired, and Drew Doughty made it 2-0 at 9:06 when he fired a shot through traffic from the blue line. Six seconds after that, Larkin and Danault were lined up for a draw when tempers flared, Larkin repeatedly shoved his stick into Danault’s back. Larkin was injured last April when Dallas’ Jamie Benn shoved his stick into Larkin’s spine during a faceoff, but Larkin’s stick work on Danault was lower on the back — and officials did call Larkin for crosschecking. (Benn was not punished.) Larkin said he “didn’t like the method it was going. I wished to send out a message and calm things down — to state let’s go, let’s begin playing some physical hockey and fight and enter this video game.”

Extra skater, bigger deficit

The punishment continued in the second period. The Wings went on a power play at 4:05 but the Kings still controlled the puck. They put the puck in Detroit’s net again but officials immediately waived it off because the play was off side. Another power play materialized at 14:41, this time with Doughty in the box for interference against Pius Suter. As the Wings segued from the first power play unit to the second, Tyler Bertuzzi appeared to leave the puck for Filip Zadina but the Kings pounced and capitalized on the turnover when Adrian Kempe made it 3-0. Trevor Moore scored into an empty net at 17:29 after Nedeljkovic had been pulled for an extra attacker with five minutes to play.

Older Frk, same story

Ex-Wing Martin Frk made his second appearance of the season in the Kings’ lineup, fresh off scoring in his debut. Frk, drafted by the Wings in the second round in 2012, scored 11 goals in 2017-18 but his one-dimensionality eventually led the team to not keep him. Frk landed in L.A.’s system, where he’s in the same position of trying to show there’s more to his game that his big — but inaccurate — shot. “His shot, his offensive chances, the way he creates there, should be enough to keep him in the lineup,” Kings coach Todd McLellan said. “What’s kept him out of the lineup for a number of years, whether it’s Detroit, Carolina, and here — one has been injury, two has been some responsibilities when he doesn’t have the puck and he’s not ready to shoot. In my mind he’s getting better in those areas. Everybody evolves at a different rate. Very few stay in the NHL just based on shot. Even (Alex) Ovechkin is not here just because of his shot, he does a lot of other things. Marty is evolving.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Find Out More on the Detroit Red Wings and register for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Huge 50: The Detroit Red Wings is readily available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Accomplishment Books. Individualized copies readily available through her email.

This short article initially appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Red Wings controlled by L.A. Kings offense in 4-0 win

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.