Kings Hand Devils Fourth Straight Loss
Tuesday, November 28th 2006, 6:08 am
By: News On 6
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Getting the puck past two-time Vezina Trophy winner Martin Brodeur usually requires traffic in front of the net, a well-placed shot through a screen, a lucky deflection or a slick move by the shooter.
The Los Angeles Kings got all four of those elements on Monday night in a 3-2 shootout victory over New Jersey, handing the Devils their fourth straight loss.
``They got some pucks to me, got some guys crashing to the net and had a couple of screens in front of me,'' Brodeur said. ``A couple of them they got a little lucky on, but you've got to give them credit. They played well.''
Nineteen-year-old rookie Anze Kopitar opened the shootout with a perfect deke on Brodeur that forced the 15-year veteran to flop to his left. Frolov, the Kings' leading goal-scorer, ended it by going straight at Brodeur and beating him between the pads.
``They were trying to open me up on the shots. Kopitar couldn't do it, so he went around me,'' Brodeur said. ``I was thinking of poke-checking Frolov, but I was scared to because he has good hands, and he didn't make me look too good out there.''
In the only other NHL game Monday night, Detroit beat Dallas 2-1.
Michael Cammalleri and Lubomir Visnovsky scored during regulation for the Kings, who have won have won consecutive games for only the second time this season following Saturday's 3-1 victory over Calgary and goalie All-Star goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.
``We've beaten two pretty good teams that have two of the premier goaltenders in the league _ and both of them played great against us,'' said Kings coach Marc Crawford, who had to hold his breath in overtime while his penalty-killing unit survived a hooking penalty against rookie defenseman Peter Harrold. ``It was a gutsy effort by our team and a real character win for us.''
Cammalleri tied it 2-all at on a power play at 17:56 of the second period, using defenseman Colin White as a screen and beating Brodeur high to the stick side with a slap shot from the top of the right circle. Kopitar assisted on Cammalleri's goal for his 23rd point, the most among NHL rookies.
``Whitey was just in no-man's land there,'' Brodeur said. ``That's a tough play. A lot of teams are using that play against us and we're trying to work on it as much as he can. Whitey just got himself on the wrong side of Cammalleri and he screened me just enough. But you've got to give him credit. When you pump the water bottle from out there, it's a good shot.''
Visnovsky was credited with his seventh goal when his intended centering pass for Brown in front of the net deflected in off White's stick.
Los Angeles was 1-for-6 on the power play against a team that came in averaging a league-low 11.1 penalty minutes. The Kings have had the man advantage a league-leading 157 times this season and have converted on 27 occasions. The Devils have been short-handed a league-low 81 times and have allowed 11 power-play goals.
``The coaches brought that up tonight and made it known to us that we were going to have to work extra hard to draw penalties,'' Cammalleri said. ``I think that by getting the puck down low behind their defensemen, moving our feet and making them work hard to not give us scoring chances, that's how you force teams to take penalties.''
Brian Gionta and Travis Zajac scored during New Jersey's first two power plays, both coming after penalties against forward Brian Willsie _ who had only 14 penalty minutes in the Kings' first 25 games.
However, it wasn't enough as the Devils matched their longest losing streak of last season. They haven't lost more than four in a row since a six-game skid in November 2000.
``They definitely were able to pick us apart in certain areas of our game,'' said Brodeur, who has not allowed more than three goals in 11 consecutive starts. ``We scored a couple of power-play goals, but when it was 5-on-5 we didn't do the job.''
Mathieu Garon made it possible for the Kings to get to overtime, kicking out a last-second shot from the high slot by Brian Rafalski for his 20th save after Scott Gomez passed the puck from behind the net.
Brodeur made an even better save 25 seconds into the extra session, sprawling to his right to thwart Dustin Brown after a perfect centering pass through the crease from Kopitar.
Red Wings 2, Stars 1
Kris Draper and Mathieu Schneider scored short-handed goals in the third period to rally host Detroit.
Dominik Hasek made 20 saves for the Red Wings, who broke a five-game winless streak (0-2-3).
Antti Miettinen scored for Dallas, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.