RED WINGS (27-20-10) at KINGS (35-19-3)
Detroit 3-4-3; Los Angeles 9-1-0
This is the last of four meetings. On Oct. 15, Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom
assisted on two goals in a 5-2 home win. On Jan. 7, Detroit's Jimmy Howard
made a career-high 51 saves for a 2-1 road win. Darren Helm
scored the winning goal with 18 seconds left in the third period. On Jan. 23, Brad Richardson
's tiebreaking goal with 7:57 left capped a rally from a two-goal deficit and lifted the Kings to a 3-2 road win.
At 35-19-3, the Kings are off to their best start after 57 games since 1980-81 and primed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001-02.
"It's been a pretty good run right now," defenseman Matt Greene
said. "Guys are playing well. It's not often that you get 10, 15 guys playing their 'A' game all at the same time. It's pretty spread out. Right now, we've got a lot of guys playing at the top of their game, and I think that's showing in our play."
The Red Wings, hit hard by injuries all season, are tied for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference after being a Stanley Cup finalist each of the last two seasons.
"When they really get ramped up and there is that urgency, they can dictate what goes on in a game," broadcaster Eddie Olczyk said. "Anybody that's thinking that chapter has been turned and they're on their way down, they'd be sorely mistaken."
This is the fourth stop on a five-game road trip that has produced a win against San Jose and losses to Pittsburgh and Anaheim. It concludes with a visit to St. Louis next Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the Ducks took a 2-0 first-period lead and defeated the Red Wings 3-1. Pavel Datsyuk
scored the only goal, on the power play, and Howard made 27 saves.
The Red Wings outshot Anaheim 21-9 in the second period with the help of three power plays. The third led to Datsyuk's 15th goal, which tied Tomas Holmstrom
and Bertuzzi for the team lead and sliced Detroit's deficit to 3-1 with 9.9 seconds left in the period.
This is the final game on a three-game homestand that began with wins against the Rangers and Ducks.
On Thursday, the Kings tied a franchise record with their eighth-straight win, a 6-4 triumph against local rival Anaheim. Overall, the Kings have won 10 of their last 11 to pull into a tie with Phoenix for second place in the Pacific Division.
Against the Ducks, Dustin Brown
scored the tie-breaking goal with 5:32 left in the third period to keep the streak alive. Anze Kopitar
had a pair of goals, including one in the final minute, and 2 assists. Defenseman Jack Johnson
scored once and added 3 assists for a career-best 4-point night. Jon Quick, who's been in goal for all eight games, broke the franchise record for consecutive wins by a goaltender held by Kelly Hrudey and Robb Stauber.
For the Red Wings, Datsyuk has 4 goals and 4 assists in six games, Henrik Zetterberg
has 2 goals and 2 assists in four games, and Daniel Cleary
has 2 goals and 2 assists in five games. … For the Kings, Kopitar has 7 goals and 8 assists in eight games, Brown has 2 goals and 5 assists in six games, Ryan Smyth has 3 goals and 3 assists in six games, and Michal Handzus has 2 goals and 3 assists in four games.
For the Red Wings, Johan Franzen
(knee) is on injured reserve. … For the Kings, Justin Williams
(broken leg), Davis Drewiske
(upper-body) and Andrei Loktionov
(upper-body) are on injured reserve.
Stat pack: Jonathan Quick
reached 30 wins (in game No. 54) on Jan. 30, faster than any goalie in franchise history. The old mark of 30 wins in 65 team games was set by Mario Lessard in 1980-81. … Quick is one of five goalies in franchise history to win 30 games in one season, and he is two from tying Lessard's team mark of 35. … Since the 1996-97 season, Detroit has won more games (665) than any other team in the NHL. Its 571 regular season wins and 94 playoff wins are both tops in the League over the past 13 seasons.
"Our top players are doing it. Brownie, Kopi, Smitty, Jack (Johnson) tonight, they were great for us," Greene said Thursday. "(Defenseman Rob Scuderi
) has been unbelievable, and it all starts with Quick too. If your core guys, offensively and defensively, are at the top of their game, all at the same time, you're going to have success."