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Kings look for turnaround in Detroit

by John Kreiser

KINGS (3-4-2) at RED WINGS (6-4-1)


Last 10: Detroit 6-3-1

Season series: The teams are meeting for the first of three times this season. Detroit won three of four in 2011-12, including both games at Joe Louis Arena.

Big story: The Kings' quest for a second straight Stanley Cup isn't off to a good start - they've won only three of their first nine games and are coming off a 3-0 loss at Nashville on Thursday. The Red Wings are finding ways to keep their heads above water - they edged Edmonton 2-1 on Saturday.

Team Scope:

Kings: After a frustrating night in Nashville on Thursday - the Kings outshot the Predators 32-14 but trailed three minutes into the game and couldn't play catch-up - the Kings are likely to have some new line combinations on Sunday. One big change could be the reuniting of veteran center Mike Richards with young wings Jordan Nolan and Dwight King. That threesome worked well together last spring.

The Kings have to find goals somewhere - they're averaging just 2.1 per game and have had two goals or fewer in six of their nine games.

"We need our top guys to be a hell of a lot better players," coach Darryl Sutter said. "That's clear."

Red Wings: Things are looking better in Detroit, where the Red Wings have won three in a row after topping the Oilers on Saturday. Niklas Kronwall's third-period power-play goal broke a 1-1 tie and Jimmy Howard stopped 23 shots as the Wings found a way to win despite a sensational effort by Edmonton goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin.

Pavel Datsyuk scored Detroit's first goal and set up Kronwall's game-winner. The Red Wings are 4-0-0 this season when Datsyuk lights the lamp.

"He's got the whole package," Kronwall said. "It doesn't matter what position you put him in, he's going to be your best player."

Who's hot: No one on the Kings' roster has more than five points in L.A.'s first nine games. … Henrik Zetterberg has four points (all assists) in Detroit's last three games. Kronwall's goal was his first of the season, but he's among the leading scorers among defensemen because he has eight assists.

Injury report: The Kings are without two key defensemen, Willie Mitchell (knee) and Matt Greene (back surgery). Both may miss the rest of the season. … The Wings are a walking M*A*S*H unit - Todd Bertuzzi (back) sat out Saturday, joining defensemen Brendan Smith (back) and Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), center Darren Helm (back) and forwards Jan Mursak (collarbone) and Mikael Samuelsson (groin).

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