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Three points and a bloody nose

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Cory Emmerton was one of three Wings' players to have a three-point night in an 8-2 victory over the Kings Saturday. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
DETROIT – Two goals, an assist, and a bloody nose.

That was Cory Emmerton’s reward following his second goal, which gave the Red Wings a three-goal lead in the opening period Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings.

“It was after I took the shot when I kind of ran into the guy,” said Emmerton, who was the game’s Second Star. “It was nothing big, but sometimes it hits you right and you get a little knock there. It’s nothing bad, but it’s hockey and you’re going to get a bump here and there.”

Behind the strength of the third and fourth lines Saturday, Emmerton and the Wings crowned the Kings and claimed an 8-2 victory – their 10th straight on home ice at Joe Louis Arena.

“We just come out flying in the first period and seem to be ready, we seem to have 3-4 goal leads out of the gate,” Emmerton said. “It’s pretty tough playing when you’re trailing by three or four goals.”

What wasn’t tough for Emmerton was moving from center to a wing position this week, which was made necessary when forward Chris Conner went down with a left hand injury last Tuesday in Pittsburgh. And the rookie from St. Thomas, Ontario certainly made the most of his opportunities Saturday.

It was Emmerton’s first points since opening night when he had a goal and an assist in the Wings’ 5-3 victory against Ottawa.

“It’s one of those things that you’re trying to do the little things right, and then when you’re fortunate enough to get a bounce or two it gives you that much more confidence or momentum to carry you through,” said Emmerton, who now has three goals and two assists in 21 games this season. “As much as you hate to say it, the big thing about hockey is it’s all about confidence and comfort level, and I was fortunate enough tonight to get a few.”

And though Saturday was his first multi-goal game of his NHL career, Emmerton would be lying, he said, if another possible ‘first’ didn’t enter his mind late in the game.

“I don’t know. Obviously it kind of crosses your mind,” said Emmerton, about the hat trick that eluded him. “But the way things have kind of gone this year I was just happy to have two, so I wasn’t really thinking too much about three.”

After Drew Miller gave the Wings a 1-0 lead at 1:45 of the opening period, Emmerton scored 15-seconds later when Jonathan Ericsson’s shot from the left point was re-directed off of the rookie’s stick and squeaked passed Kings goalie Jonathan Quick.

“It hit the top of my stick there,” said Emmerton, about the goal that was originally credited to Ericsson. “I didn’t get much of it, but you know you could tell, and there was a little mark in my stick, too. It was enough to change it up a bit, and yeah, I figured they would chance it anyways, but it wasn’t really the biggest thing on my mind.”

There was no doubt about Emmerton’s second of the period that put the Wings up 4-1 at 18:35. Justin Abdelkader made a perfect tape-to-tape pass from the near boards to Emmerton in the low slot, and his one-timer zipped passed Kings backup goalie Jonathan Bernier, who replaced Quick midway through the period.

Emmerton was playing in just his third game – and second straight – since Conner was called up from Grand Rapids at the start of the month.

“The first couple of games that I played the wing, it was kind of an adjustment of getting used to it; I used to play it in junior, actually,” Emmerton said. “I enjoy playing it, and tonight was a nice relief. But sometimes you just get fortunate to have the opportunities and chances.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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