The Detroit Red Wings might not have the best record in the Western Conference, but they still might be the team to beat.
The Red Wings look to build off their most impressive victory of the season while trying to regain their home dominance over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
Second in the West with 46 points, the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings (21-6-4) showed that perhaps the road back to the finals could again go through Detroit after posting a 6-0 home win over conference-leading San Jose on Thursday.
San Jose has an NHL-best 53 points and is on pace to challenge Detroit’s NHL record of 62 wins in a season from 1995-96 and the Montreal Canadiens’ mark of 132 points in 1976-77, but was stymied by the Red Wings.
“So far, it’s our first real good game. I think, so far, it’s our best game,” said Datsyuk, who has seven points in three games. “Now we just need to keep going, keep going, grind like that, play our game.”
The Red Wings hope that happens while trying to avoid a letdown against Los Angeles (13-13-6), which snapped an eight-game road losing streak at Detroit with a 5-3 win there in February.
“I think we all are confident in here. I think we all have a strong belief that we’re one of the top clubs, for sure, in the league,” said Conklin, who is 9-4-0 with a 2.53 goals-against average and is expected to start again with Chris Osgood nursing a sore groin.
Marian Hossa scored his team-leading 17th goal and added an assist against the Sharks, while Johan Franzen recorded his third goal in three contests overall. Hossa scored in Detroit’s 4-3 shootout victory at Los Angeles on Oct. 27 in the teams’ most recent meeting.
The Kings look to bounce back after opening a three-game road trip Friday with a 5-0 loss at Buffalo. Los Angeles is 0-1-2 with four total goals scored during that span since winning three of four.
“I liked the way we approached things,” Kings coach Terry Murray said. “We just have to find a way to put some pucks in the net.”
Alexander Frolov scored one of his team-leading 13 goals versus Detroit in October, but has been held without a point in his last three contests overall.
Jason LaBarbera made 34 saves in that loss to the Red Wings and was pulled in favor of Jon Quick after allowing four goals on 15 shots in Friday’s loss. LaBarbera is 5-8-4 on the season and 0-2-2 in his last four starts.
With Erik Ersberg out with a pulled groin, LaBarbera could be back in net trying to improve on his 1-3-2 record with a 4.00 GAA against the Red Wings.