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The Detroit Red Wings needed an impressive third-period rally for their last win, but there's been little doubt about who the better team has been when they meet the Los Angeles Kings.
The Red Wings look to continue their dominance over the Kings when they meet at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday.
Detroit (23-9-5) has won 11 straight against Los Angeles, outscoring the Kings 48-28. Robert Lang, who spent his first four seasons with Los Angeles from 1992-96, scored twice to lift the Red Wings to a 3-1 victory in their first meeting this season on Oct. 16.
Detroit has dropped just three of the last 24 home matchups between these teams. The Red Wings also have been tough to beat at home this season, going 12-3-3 and outscoring opponents 58-32.
They return home after rallying to top Columbus 7-4 on Thursday. Detroit led 3-0, but allowed the Blue Jackets to take a one-goal lead in the third period. The Red Wings finally got back on track, scoring four unanswered goals in a 7:13 span late in the game.
"Obviously things were going wrong," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose team is 4-0-1 over their last five games overall. "It would have been easy for us to fold, but we didn't. We scored and got it started, and we went from there."
Daniel Cleary recorded his first career hat trick and leads Detroit with 17 goals this season after posting a total of only 13 over his last three seasons. Pavel Datsyuk, tied with Lang for second on the team with 29 points, added two goals and an assist while Danny Markov and Henrik Zetterberg each had a goal and an assist.
Detroit backup goaltender Chris Osgood made 21 saves in the win, but Dominik Hasek likely will be in goal for this game. The six-time Vezina Trophy winner is 5-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average in his last six starts and has given up just five goals while winning his last three starts against the Kings.
Los Angeles (14-21-5) will try to wrap up a three-game road trip with a win. After defeating defending Western Conference champion Edmonton 7-4 on Thursday, the Kings fell to Calgary 6-4 on Friday.
Craig Conroy and Lubomir Visnovsky scored 30 seconds apart off assists from Alexander Frolov in the final minute to make it a one-goal game, but the Flames added an empty-netter for the final margin.
"We didn't play well enough in the first two periods, we know that, that was a poor effort by us," said Conroy, whose team has dropped 12 of 17 on the road this season. "We tried hard in the third but that's the way we have to play for 60 minutes.
"For whatever reasons, we haven't learned any of our lessons. We talk about it, we just haven't been able to do it."
Frolov has been playing his best hockey of the season, recording two goals and six assists in his last three games. He leads the team with 19 goals and 41 points, but was held without a point in the first meeting of the season against Detroit.
Visnovsky has three goals and two assists in his last two games. He also has a goal and two assists in his last two visits to Detroit.
Rookie Barry Brust made 24 saves in the loss to Calgary, and has never faced the Red Wings. Mathieu Garon, who returned in the win over the Oilers after missing 12 games with a groin injury, lost his only career start in Detroit after giving up four second-period goals in a 7-3 loss on March 9.
These teams meet again Jan. 6 in Los Angeles.
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