DETROIT – After falling behind a goal early in the third period, the Detroit Red Wings were almost exactly where they wanted to be.
Dan Cleary scored with 1:34 left about two minutes after Jiri Hudler tied it and the Detroit Red Wings beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-4 Saturday night.
“I think we play way better when we’re down a goal. When the chips are down we find a way to tie it or win it,” Cleary said. “We just have to get that urgency and mindset early in games when we’re ahead or even.”
Hudler and Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist, and Andreas Lilja, Mikael Samuelsson and Kris Draper added goals for Detroit. Nicklas Lidstrom had three assists, and Ty Conklin made 22 saves.
“I thought we showed a lot of character,” Lidstrom said. “Especially in the third period, when we were down,”
Dustin Brown and Kyle Calder had a goal and an assist each and Trevor Lewis and Alexander Frolov also scored for Los Angeles. Jarret Stoll had two assists, and Jonathan Quick made 30 saves.
“We had the win with three, three-and-a-half minutes left … they got two goals at the end,” Quick said. “It was disappointing.”
Cleary beat Quick, who was screened by Hudler, from along the left wing boards. Draper added an empty-net goal.
“We talked about putting pucks on the net. That was pretty much our game plan,” Cleary said. “Huds made a good play putting the screen on, I made sure I got it on net and it went in.”
Hudler’s 13th goal tied it at 4 with 3:43 left. He put the puck in during a goal-mouth scramble.
Brown’s 13th gave Los Angeles a 4-3 lead 2:25 into the third period. He converted a 2-on-1 break with Stoll by scoring from the bottom of the right circle.
“You know you’re going to have a tiger by the tail when you’ve got a young team like that going in the third period,” Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock said. “They probably didn’t think they were going to win coming into the game and now they have a chance.”
Each team scored in the final 1:20 of the second.
Samuelsson put Detroit up 3-2 when he put in Lidstrom’s rebound after Lidstrom intercepted Drew Doughty’s pass from the corner in the high slot.
Calder tied it just 16 seconds later with his fourth goal when he tapped in Stoll’s rebound after Stoll cut in off left wing.
Lewis opened the scoring just 1:46 into the game when the rebound of his shot was accidentally knocked in by Red Wings defenceman Brian Rafalski. Datsyuk tied it at 8:40 with his 11th goal when he converted a give and go with Tomas Holmstrom by sliding the puck past Quick from in front.
Lilja gave Detroit a 2-0 lead with 7:38 left in the opening period with his first goal, a slap shot from the right point. Frolov tied it just 31 seconds later when he slid the puck past a sprawling Conklin after moving across the slot for his 14th goal.
Notes: Los Angeles D Kyle Quincey was claimed off waivers from Detroit before the season. … Detroit G Chris Osgood missed his second game with a sore groin. He also had the flu. … Kings G Erik Ersberg missed his third game due to a sore groin. … Los Angeles C Derek Armstrong missed his sixth game because of concussion-like symptoms. … Lidstrom’s three assists moved him past Larry Robinson into eighth place on the NHL career list for points by a defenceman (959). He has 744 assists, putting him eighth on the NHL list among defencemen, passing Denis Potvin.