Red Wings-Kings Preview
GAME: Detroit Red Wings (3-1-0) at Los Angeles Kings (3-1-0).
TIME: Thursday, 10:30 p.m. EDT.
Coming off their first loss of the season, the Detroit Red Wings will look to get a boost from the return of captain Steve Yzerman when they visit the Los Angeles Kings.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Monday that Yzerman, who leads all active players in scoring with 1,721 points, will make his season debut in Los Angeles after missing the first four games with a groin injury.
After the NHL lockout canceled last season, Yzerman chose to sign a one-year contract to return to Detroit for his 22nd season.
He had 18 goals and 33 assists in 75 games in 2003-04 to help Detroit to the playoffs. However, the 40-year-old center broke some bones near his eye late in the regular season and will play with a visor covering half of his face.
The Red Wings hope Yzerman's return helps them bounce back from a sluggish 4-2 loss to Vancouver on Monday.
Mikael Samuelsson scored his fourth goal in four games and Tomas Holmstrom also scored for Detroit, which went 0-for-6 on the power play, including failing on two two-man advantages. The Wings had come into the game as the league's top power-play unit, converting 34.7 percent.
"I thought we were a step behind all night long," Babcock said.
Defenseman Mathieu Schneider agreed.
"We just didn't seem to be able to get anything settled," Schneider said. "We seemed to be a couple of inches off (on passes) all night."
Los Angeles is 3-0 on a five-game homestand following a season-opening 5-4 loss at Dallas on Oct. 5.
Dustin Brown and Joe Corvo scored on the power play in Los Angeles' 3-1 win over Edmonton on Tuesday. Jason LaBarbera made 23 saves for the Kings, who have killed 14 of 16 power plays over the last three games.
"We took advantage of our opportunities, and our penalty killers stepped up," Kings coach Andy Murray said.
Jeremy Roenick, though, has no points in three games since scoring goals on his first two shots against Dallas.
STANDINGS: Red Wings - 6 points, 1st place (tied), Central Division. Kings - 6 points, 1st place, Pacific Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Samuelsson, 4 goals; Henrik Zetterberg and Jason Williams, 5 assists; Zetterberg, 6 points; Brendan Shanahan, 19 PIM. Kings - Four tied with 2 goals; Derek Armstrong, 4 assists; Pavol Demitra and Armstrong, 4 points; Sean Avery, 13 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 11): Red Wings - Power play: 27.5 percent (8 for 29), 3rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 92.3 percent (24 for 26), 4th. Kings - Power play: 20.8 percent (5 for 24), 9th. Penalty killing: 85.7 percent (24 for 28), 13th.
GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Manny Legace (3-1-0, 0 SO, 2.51 GAA); Chris Osgood (no record). Kings - LaBarbera (2-0-0, 0, 1.50); Mathieu Garon (1-1-0, 0, 2.93).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Red Wings, 4-0-0.
LAST MEETING: March 20, 2004; Red Wings, 4-2. At Los Angeles, Williams scored the tying and go-ahead goals and Yzerman had three assists for Detroit.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Red Wings - 1-0-0 on the road; Kings - 3-0-0 at home.