Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Jimmy Howard celebrated his new contract by making 35 saves, Drew Miller scored twice, and the Detroit Red Wings hammered the Los Angeles Kings, 7-4, at Staples Center. Hours after Howard signed a two-year extension with the club, the Red Wings rattled off seven straight goals en route to a sixth consecutive road win. Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk each scored on the power play, while Darren Helm added a short-handed tally in the rout.
Michal Handzus scored an early power play goal for the Kings, who netted three late goals to make the final score somewhat more respectable in just their second regulation loss in 16 games. Jonathan Quick, who made a career-high 51 saves in a shutout win when these teams met on December 13, was beaten six times on 24 shots before getting pulled in the third period. Helm was whistled for holding 3:17 into the game, and the Kings capitalized less than a minute later. Jarret Stoll's point shot banked hard off the back boards, and Handzus was at the right doorstep to knock it out of the air and into the back of the net at 4:09.
The lead lasted all of 2:28 thanks to Miller's seemingly innocuous centering pass from the left side somehow squirting through for a goal, the first of seven straight for the Central Division-leaders. Detroit took the lead just 30 seconds later, as Jiri Hudler's shot from the right boards was acutely re-directed between Quick's pads by Dan Cleary. The play was reviewed and showed Cleary making contact with the puck at shoulder level.
Late in the opening frame, a nice hustle play from Mike Modano behind the net resulted in the puck finding Lidstrom at the point, where the All-Star defenseman let a slap shot fly for his 13th goal of the season at 18:48. The Kings squandered two power-play chances in the second period, and the Wings scored late on their chance with the man advantage, as Datsyuk came in unabated and flung a wrister into the top right corner with 41.2 seconds showing.
Detroit's special teams continued to shine in the third, as Helm's unassisted short-handed tally 2:01 into the frame increased the margin to 5-1. Quick was yanked after yielding Miller's sixth goal of the season at 5:53, and Jonathan Bernier gave up a goal to Hudler midway through the final period, one of three shots the netminder faced in relief.
The Kings' front office had a busy Monday, trading for forward Dustin Penner before the deadline and signing right wing Justin Williams to a four-year extension. They gave up defensive prospect Colten Teubert along with a first- round pick in the 2011 draft and a conditional third-round selection in 2012 to land Penner...LA was 11-1-3 in its previous 15 games...Los Angeles had won four straight over Detroit...The Red Wings played without defenseman Brian Rafalski (back) and forward Johan Franzen (personal).
For more news and information on tonight's game, be sure to read Jewels From The Crown.