Jeff Carter had given the Kings a 2-1 lead with 2:15 left in the third period on a power-play goal. However, a bizarre goal on a play that's not reviewable allowed the Red Wings to tie the score with 26.1 seconds left in the third.
Niklas Kronwall's shot deflected high in the air and hit the protective netting behind the goal and above the glass before hitting Jonathan Quick in the back and going into the net. Play should have been stopped when the puck hit the netting, but the four officials apparently didn't see what had happened. They conferred but there's no provision for review in such instances, and the goal stood.
The Kings had lost to Detroit, 3-1, at home on Jan. 11.
After a scoreless and bland first period, the intensity and emotions heated up in the second period. So did the Kings’ power play, which had been two for 33 in the team’s previous seven games. But the Kings’ lead lasted only 41 seconds, leaving the score tied after two periods.
With Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith in the penalty box for cross-checking Kings forward Dustin Brown, the Kings got their power play moving. Mike Richards got the puck from Slava Voynov and took a shot that appeared to deflect upward -- perhaps off Kyle Quincey’s stick -- and sailed over Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard’s left shoulder at 9:06.
The goal ended a 23-game drought for Richards, who had last scored on Nov. 25.
The Red Wings responded at 9:47. Forward Gustav Nyquist slid a backhand pass through the legs of teammate Justin Abdelkader and into the slot, where Henrik Zetterberg was able to pounce on it and score from close range.
Tempers flared a few minutes later, sparked when Kings forward Kyle Clifford went to the net and ended up in the crease underneath Howard, who pummeled him. That motivated Richards to defend his teammate and go after Howard.
Players from both teams were quickly involved and even Kings goalie Jonathan Quick left his crease and skated to the red line to keep an eye on things. Quick didn’t join the hostilities, but TV closeups during the ensuing stoppage showed that he had a few words for Howard, who will be his teammate for the U.S. during the Sochi Olympics. It’s not likely they were wishing each other a good journey to Russia.