The first time the Los Angles Kings faced the Detroit Red Wings this season, they peppered goaltender Jimmy Howard with 47 shots but fell short thanks to a late goal by Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. On Wednesday night, they got a bit of revenge against Detroit, as Jonathan Bernier shook off a rough start and helped the Kings pull out a 2-1 victory despite the fact that they trailed the Wing for more than half the game. Third period goals from Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar gave the Kings their first lead of the game, and Bernier did the rest to help preserve the win. The win was enough to move Los Angeles to fifth in the Western Conference standings and for the moment pushed Detroit out of the playoff picture.
The Kings got off to a slow start and were outshot by the Red Wings 13-5 in the first period. The goal Bernier surrendered to Detroit defenseman Kyle Quincey would best be described as “fluky,” as it hit the Kings’ goaltender’s glove, then the back of his mask before falling into the net. There were other times in the first period that Bernier gave up some big rebounds or seemed to have a hard time corralling the puck, but his defense helped out and did an excellent job of closing in on the net when the Wings got within striking distance. Bernier has now won his last four starts and lowered his goals against average to 1.64 while giving Jonathan Quick a few nights off.
Carter’s power play goal tied things up just over halfway into the third period before Dwight King fed Kopitar a pass that left him with only Howard to beat. His highlight-reel goal gave the Kings their first lead with less than five minutes to play. What started off looking like another disappointing close loss ended up being a big win for the Kings and pulled their season series with the Red Wings even. The two teams don’t meet again until Apr. 24, in the final week of the regular season.