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Detroit Red Wings

Red Wings Beat Kings For Fifth Win in Seven Starts

Detroit has held opponents to three goals or less in five successive games



Patrick Kane, Red Wings
Patrick Kanes likes how the Red Wings are playing defensive hockey.

Slowly but surely, the Detroit Red Wings are finding the formula for success as an NHL club. And it isn’t by outscoring the other team.

It’s all about keeping the other team from scoring.

“We’v e been trending in the right direction, so it’s nice to kind of get rewarded for it,” Detroit forward Patrick Kane said after Saturday’s 5-3 home-ice win over the Los Angeles Kings.

The Red Wings can put the puck in the net. Of that there is no doubt. With 151 goals scored, they lead the Eastern Conference are situated fourth overall in the NHL.

It’s been their defensive player that’s holding the Red Wings back from climbing steadily in the standings. However, Saturday’s win saw them improve to 5-1-1 over the past seven games. In the last five outings, Detroit has held opponents to three goals or less in each of them.

“Our five on five play, we’re defending much better,” Detroit coach Derek Lalonde said. “Still some moments within our game but those first 40 minutes of five-on-five, I think we had many only 2-3 chances (against) total. One was on the power play.

“I think things we’ve been trying to translate from practice have been working. Obviously, it’s been a very good run for us here.”

In the seven games previous to this five-game stretch of tighter, more consistent defensive play, the Wings gave up more than three goals six times.

Red Wings Putting Emphasis On Defense

“I think just the emphasis on playing well defensively,” Kane listed as the biggest difference he’s seen in the team during their recent run of success.

“They were scoring a lot of goals in front of our net, just getting tips on pucks. We’re doing a better job of getting on their sticks to make sure that’s not happening.”

He’s not the only one in red and white seeing this turnaround in disciplined play without the puck. Captain Dylan Larkin, who was pacing the offense with two goals on Saturday, was echoing Kane’s sentiments.

“There’s a lot of emphasis on it,” Larkin said of improving their defensive game. “That was a 1-1 game for awhile tonight. We played well and then we got our offense going and scored in bunches.”

By the end of the second period, it was 5-1 Red Wings.

“We still have things we can get better on But I feel the last five games we’ve been really good at clearing out the front of the net,” Larkin said. “Kinger’s (goalie Alex Lyon) been making some big saves for us.”

Lyon is giving Detroit reliable netminding, and that’s another element in formulating the turnaround in fortunes. The Wings went 3-for-3 on the power play while beating the Kings.

“We’ve kind of had some consistency in our lineup and the lines,” Kane said. “We’re starting to develop chemistry and just understanding our roles out there.”