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Published: 3/14/2012

Drew Doughty ends scoring drought, leads LA Kings' 5-2 rout of injury-depleted Detroit

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, right, defends Detroit Red Wings center Gustav Nyquist during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles, Tuesday. Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell, right, defends Detroit Red Wings center Gustav Nyquist during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Los Angeles, Tuesday.
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LOS ANGELES — Drew Doughty had a goal and his first assist in 19 games, Anze Kopitar had a short-handed goal and an assist, and the Los Angeles Kings stayed in the thick of the playoff chase with a 5-2 victory over the injury-depleted Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.

Jeff Carter and Justin Williams also had a goal and an assist, and Jonathan Quick made 22 saves in the Kings' fifth victory in seven games. Los Angeles avenged a loss in Detroit four days earlier and emphatically avoided a season sweep by the Red Wings, pulling the Kings into a four-way tie for eighth place in the Western Conference.

Jiri Hudler and Johan Franzen scored and Jimmy Howard stopped 22 shots in his return from a three-game absence with a groin injury for the fourth-place Red Wings, who played without injured stars Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk.

Detroit has lost four of five midway through a four-game road trip that includes all three California clubs.

Slava Voynov scored a power-play goal in the third period for the Kings, and Carter added an empty-net goal from the Los Angeles blue line in the final minute. Doughty, Los Angeles' $56 million defenseman, had his first multipoint game since Feb. 1 as the Kings returned from a four-game road trip for their fifth home game since that date.

Los Angeles is even with San Jose, Calgary and Colorado in the West with 78 points, although the Avalanche have the most victories, and the Sharks have played the fewest games. Seventh-place Phoenix is one point ahead in a playoff race that is likely to go down to the final week.

Lidstrom watched his eighth straight game from the press box because of an injured ankle, and Datsyuk missed his 10th consecutive game with a knee injury. Todd Bertuzzi also sat out his fourth game with an undisclosed lower body injury.

Detroit's power play foundered again in its stars' absence, going 0 for 4 to extend its scoreless slump to six games. Los Angeles has killed 33 consecutive penalties.

The Kings controlled play early and took the lead when Williams pushed a rebound underneath Howard less than seven minutes in. The goal was Williams' fourth in five games after a slow start to the season. Captain Dustin Brown earned an assist to extend his point streak to nine games.

Kopitar scored several minutes later, after a Detroit turnover during a power play, putting a slick wrist shot past Howard for his 21st goal.

Hudler pulled the Red Wings closer when he nimbly stopped a deflected pass with his skates and whipped the puck past Quick in one fluid motion in the slot.

Mike Richards appeared to make an artful mid-air deflection of Doughty's shot to snap the former Philadelphia captain's 25-game goal skid. The goal was upheld by video review, but the officiating crew eventually determined Richards didn't touch the puck, and awarded credit to Doughty during the third period.

NOTES: Both teams' next game is on the road against the Anaheim Ducks. Detroit visits on Wednesday, and the Kings conclude the Freeway Faceoff on Friday. ... Carter also had an assist, giving him seven points in nine games since being traded to Los Angeles. The Kings have scored 30 goals since his arrival, moving past Minnesota into 29th place in the 30-team NHL in total goals scored. ... Tom Hanks attended the game.




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