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Wings trump Kings on Lang's two third-period goals

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Many hockey fans in Detroit were probably
wondering where the goal-scoring and leadership were going to come
from after the Red Wings lost Steve Yzerman to retirement and
Brendan Shanahan to the New York Rangers. Robert Lang could be the
answer.

Lang scored twice in the third period and Kris Draper had a
short-handed goal to lead the Red Wings to a 3-1 victory over the
Los Angeles Kings on Monday night. The 35-year-old center has had
six seasons with 20 or more goals, including a career-high 32 with
Pittsburgh in 2000-01.

"He's a guy who I think is one of the premier centers in this
league. He can do everything," Detroit defenseman Mathieu
Schneider said. "He's so strong on the puck, and in the big games
he's always one of our best players. It's really his size and his
strength, and he's learned to use it."

Detroit goalie Chris Osgood stopped 22 shots in his season debut
after Dominik Hasek started the first four games.

"My job is to be ready to play when I'm asked, but I expect
I'll play more as the season goes along because the games won't be
as spread out as they are now," said Osgood, who helped Detroit
win consecutive Stanley Cup titles in 1997 and 1998.

Forward Sean Avery scored for Los Angeles in the last minute of
the first period and Dan Cloutier made 24 saves.

Lang, who played his first 149 NHL games with the Kings between
1992 and 1996, has 10 goals and seven assists in 16 career games
against Los Angeles. He put Detroit ahead 2-1 early in the third
period while Alexander Frolov was serving a delay-of-game penalty
for clearing the puck over the glass. The goal came 5 seconds after
Rob Blake returned from a tripping penalty.

Lang got the puck from Nicklas Lidstrom at the left of the
crease, looked around like he was going to pass, then suddenly spun
and whipped his first goal of the season between Cloutier's right
foot and the post. It was only the Red Wings' third power-play goal
in 27 attempts this season.

"I don't think tonight was one of our better efforts,"
Schneider said. "We were kind of scrambling through the neutral
zone. We played well in spurts, but we were lucky to be able to
come out with two points."

Lang scored again on a breakaway with 3:58 left in the game,
beating Cloutier low to the glove side after Avery coughed up the
puck to Mikael Samuelsson near the red line.

"I don't think they dominated us, but they are opportunists and
we gave them opportunities," Kings center Craig Conroy said.

Avery opened the scoring during a goalmouth scramble with 45
seconds left in the first, after Osgood stopped a slap shot by
Aaron Miller but failed to control the rebound. Draper tied it at
9:44 of the second period while teammate Jason Williams was serving
a hooking penalty.

Johan Franzen carried the puck into the Kings' zone and was
leveled with a clean open-ice hit by Blake -- a split-second after
getting the puck to Draper, who went in all alone on Cloutier and
backhanded his 14th career short-handed goal through the goalie's
legs.

"He made a great play," Schneider said of Franzen. "He kind
of had his head down, and when a guy like Rob is out there, you've
got to be aware of where he is all the time."

The Kings were outshot 27-23. The Red Wings had averaged 34.3
shots through their first four games, compared with 17.0 by their
opponents. Los Angeles came in averaging 34.4 shots.

"We haven't been giving up too many shots," Osgood said.
"We've been trying to play good defense and at the same time play
good offensively. We're playing solid hockey from the first minute
to the 60th minute."

Blake, whose 138 goals and 429 points with the Kings are the
most by a defenseman in franchise history, has begun his second
tour in Los Angeles with no points in his first six games.

Game notes
Accompanying the Red Wings on their four-game road trip is
Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman, who coached Detroit to three Stanley
Cup titles and is now in his fifth season as a consultant with the
team. ... Draper is one of eight players left from the Red Wings'
last Stanley Cup championship team in 2002. ... The Kings were
0-for-8 on the power play and are 5-for-53 with the man advantage
altogether. ... The Kings, whose 78.7 penalty-killing percentage
last season was the worst in the league, have allowed seven goals
in 38 short-handed situations this season.