DETROIT (AP) _ Robert Lang made an instant impact with his new team.
The veteran center had three assists in his Detroit debut, leading the Red
Wings to a 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday night.
Lang, acquired Friday from Washington, moved past Tampa Bay's Martin St.
Louis into the lead in the NHL scoring race with 77 points.
``I wanted to get off to a good start,'' Lang said. ``I'm glad it worked
His big night helped Detroit pass Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia
and Ottawa into first place in the overall NHL standings with 85 points.
``They can score the pretty goals, but they can muck it up pretty well,
too,'' Philadelphia goaltender Sean Burke said. ``They were pretty aggressive
in front of the net.''
Mathieu Schneider, Steve Yzerman, Kirk Maltby and Brendan Shanahan scored
for the Red Wings, and Schneider added an assist.
Mark Recchi and Simon Gagne had the Flyers' goals.
Detroit led 3-2 after each team scored twice in the second period.
Recchi tied it at 1 for Philadelphia 5:52 into the period. Yzerman restored
the Red Wings' lead at 8:45 after a pass from Lang.
``I think he started to feel more comfortable as the game went on,'' Detroit
coach Dave Lewis said.
Maltby made it 3-1 with a power-play goal with 5:41 remaining.
Gagne brought Philadelphia within 3-2 with 1:17 left in the period.
Shanahan's power-play goal, scored off a rebound of Lang's shot, made it 4-2
with 8:04 remaining in the third period.
Burke talked about Lang's effect on Detroit.
``It's another dimension, another guy teams have to focus on,'' he said.
``That creates more space for some of their other players. The balance that
team has is its strength. In the playoffs, that's what wins it for you, being
able to throw out four lines, and to throw out the four lines that they have,
they're a tough team to beat.''
Lang got his first point with his new team on his second shift. He won a
faceoff deep in the Philadelphia zone back to Schneider, whose wrist shot from
the high slot went in off the stick of Flyers defenseman Chris Therien at 4:26.
``A great faceoff win,'' Schneider said. ``He won it so hard, it was all I
could do to get a backhand on it.''