Los Angeles Kings coach Terry Murray hopes the resiliency his young team showed to conclude its two-week stay at home can carry over into a five-game road trip.
The Kings’ resolve could get a test in the first stop, a matchup with the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.
That’s when Los Angeles will try to avoid a seventh straight loss to Detroit by winning a season high-tying third in a row away from home.
The Kings (28-19-3) opened a season-high, seven-game homestand with a 2-1 loss to the Red Wings on Jan. 7, giving up Darren Helm’s(notes) winning goal with 18 seconds left. They lost two more games before rebounding to win three of four.
After a lackluster effort in Tuesday night’s 5-1 loss to San Jose, Los Angeles ended the homestand on a positive note by rallying against Northeast Division-leading Buffalo for a 4-3 shootout win on Thursday night.
The Kings trailed by a goal in both the second and third periods, but Ryan Smyth(notes) scored the final equalizer with 10:57 remaining in regulation. Jonathan Quick(notes) followed by stopping two of three Sabres in the shootout.
Los Angeles earned its previous win, 4-3 in a shootout against Boston on Jan. 16, by rallying from two goals behind in the third period.
“It’s a nice step for us, after going through a little bit of a difficult time here,” Murray told the team’s Web site. “I think heading out on the road now, we can draw on this experience here today. We can dig in and play well and deal with the adversities that are in the game.”
Los Angeles, though, has registered just three goals in its two losses to the Red Wings (25-17-8) this season, including a 5-2 defeat at Joe Louis Arena on Oct. 15.
Quick, who’s started the past four games, gave up four of the game’s final six goals in that loss, and is 0-5-0 all-time against Detroit with a 3.43 goals-against average.
Los Angeles has also dropped 22 of 24 to the Red Wings since Feb. 24, 2003, and 11 of 12 at Joe Louis. The Kings’ previous win in the series was a 5-3 victory on Feb. 7, 2008, in Detroit.
However, they’ll face a Red Wings team that had a pair of shaky performances on its brief two-game trip.
After taking a one-goal lead in the third period, Detroit allowed Washington to score twice in the final 6:45 in a 3-2 defeat Tuesday night. The Red Wings snapped an 0-1-2 slide with Thursday night’s 4-3 shootout win over Minnesota, but the Wild tied the game on back-to-back goals in a one-minute span late in the third period.
“Even though we gave up the two-goal lead, it wasn’t like they came out and tilted the rink,” coach Mike Babcock said.
Despite mixed results on the road, Babcock’s team has been fairly consistent at home, going 6-1-1 there since Dec. 11.