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Red Wings On The West Coast

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PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 13:  Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on December 13, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 13: Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on December 13, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Kings missed an opportunity last week to earn their first win over the Detroit Red Wings this season and give a boost to their playoff hopes.

The Kings might have a better chance of ending their losing streak against the Red Wings during the season’s final matchup.

Following a positive end to a four-game trip, Los Angeles will try to take advantage of Detroit’s recent struggles on the road in its return home Tuesday night.

The Kings (32-25-12) squandered a late one-goal lead Friday’s game at Joe Louis Arena, where Valtteri Filppula and Darren Helm each scored late goals to give Detroit a 4-3 victory.

Goaltender Jonathan Quick helped Los Angeles rebound from that defeat by stopping all six Chicago shootout attempts in a 3-2 win Sunday.

“I got fortunate there (in the shootout). I had a couple of guys mishandle the puck,” Quick said. “We got two points, that’s all it means. It doesn’t matter how we do it as long as we get it.”

After splitting four road games, Los Angeles will play its next six in southern California, with its only trip away from the Staples Center in Anaheim on Friday.

The Kings will seek a season high-tying third straight home win Tuesday against a team that’s 1-4-1 in its last six road games.

The Red Wings (44-22-3) suffered their latest defeat away from home Saturday – and the sixth in nine overall contests – as their special teams provided little help.

Detroit couldn’t capitalize on four power-play opportunities during a 3-2 loss to Nashville, dropping to 0 for 20 with a man advantage over its last five games. The Red Wings also gave up a pair of power-play goals in that defeat and have allowed five over their last 20 penalty kills.

“I thought we had some good opportunities, created some chances. We just couldn’t get anything by them,” said forward Justin Abdelkader, whose team is six points behind St. Louis in the Central Division.

Injuries to No. 1 goaltender Jimmy Howard, leading scorer Pavel Datsyuk, captain Nicklas Lidstrom and veteran forward Todd Bertuzzi haven’t helped. There’s a possibility, however, that at least some of those players could return sometime during the western portion of its four-game trip.

The Red Wings recalled forward Gustav Nyquist from their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Monday, but he could be sent back down if Datsyuk or Bertuzzi is ready to play.

If Detroit can get healthier, that might help its chances of sweeping the season series for the second time in four campaigns. The Red Wings won all four games against the Kings in 2008-09.

They’ve outscored Los Angeles 16-6 over the three meetings in 2011-12, with the bulk of those goals coming in an 8-2 rout at Joe Louis on Dec. 17.

Detroit prevailed 4-1 during its most recent trip to Los Angeles on Nov. 19. Datsyuk scored two goals in that game and Howard made 23 saves as the Red Wings improved to 13-2-1 over their last 16 visits.

Defenseman Niklas Kronwall also scored a goal in that victory and has a team-best five points this season against the Kings. Henrik Zetterberg has totaled three goals and an assist over his last two matchups.
Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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