DETROIT – Nicklas Lidstrom reached a milestone – and helped the slow-starting Detroit Red Wings get back to .500.
Lidstrom became the first European defenceman and eighth overall to reach 1,000 points, assisting on two goals in Detroit’s 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.
The Swedish star has 229 goals and 771 assists in 1,336 career games. He’s also the fourth player with 1,000 points as a Red Wing, joining Gordie Howe, Steve Yzerman and Alex Delvecchio.
“It felt great, especially doing it at home,” Lidstrom said.
The Red Wings have gotten off to a sluggish start and are only 3-3. They were trounced 6-2 by the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night.
“I thought we were tentative at the start, which I expected,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “Anytime you get beat the way we got beat last game, confidence isn’t huge and it took us a while to get playing. I thought we got some good goaltending early and then we got playing and just got better and stronger as the night went on.”
Jonathan Ericsson, Henrik Zetterberg and Brian Rafalski each had a goal and an assist, Tomas Holmstrom and Kirk Maltby and also scored, and Chris Osgood made 24 saves for the Red Wings.
Osgood talked about Lidstrom, a six-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s best defenceman.
“It’s a huge accomplishment, 1,000 points, but he’s done it over his whole career,” Osgood said. “So it’s something you can’t really be surprised about. It’s consistency over a long period of time.”
Dustin Brown and Justin Williams scored for Los Angeles, and Jonathan Quick stopped 27 shots.
“Tonight we didn’t have the consistency shift after shift,” Brown said.
Detroit scored twice in the second period to take a 2-1 lead.
Ericsson’s second goal of the season tied it 3:34 into the period. He beat Quick with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle near the boards after Justin Abdelkader won a faceoff in the Kings’ zone. It was Abdelkader’s first career regular-season point. Holmstrom’s power-play goal gave the Red Wings the lead 8:47 into the period. He tipped in Lidstrom’s shot from the point.
Zetterberg made it 3-1, 3:24 into the third period. He deflected Lidstrom’s slap pass past Quick.
“They capitalized on a their power-play and a couple of costly mistakes,” Quick said. “You play a team like that, you’ve got to limit your mistakes.”
Williams pulled Los Angeles within a goal with 8:03 left when he tipped Sean O’Donnell’s slap shot from the point in off of Lidstrom.
Malby restored the two-goal lead with 5:17 left, slapping in a loose puck from the slot. Rafalski added an empty-net goal in the final minute.
Brown opened the scoring 5:41 into the game when he chipped in a loose puck from a goalmouth scramble for his first goal of the season.
Notes: Detroit was without C Pavel Datsyuk because of an upper-body injury. … Los Angeles D Jack Johnson played at the University of Michigan. … Kings D Matt Greene is a native of Grand Ledge, Mich. … Williams played Junior hockey in suburban Detroit with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.