By Michael Caples –
DETROIT – For the third straight home game, the Detroit Red Wings chased the opposition’s starting goaltender.
But this time, some unexpected scorers led the goal-scoring bombardment.
Rookie Cory Emmerton had two goals and an assist, and Michigan native Drew Miller had two goals of his own to power the Wings to a dominating 8-2 win over the Kings Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Coach Mike Babcock said it was nice to see two of the Wings’ role players find the scoresheet.
“It’s good,” Babcock said. “It’s good for them and their stats, and they feel good about it, and it’s important. Everyone on the team’s important. I thought [Justin Abdelkader’s] line got a big power-play goal too, I think all those things are important for us.”
The win improves the Wings’ home record to 13-2-1. In their last three games at Joe Louis Arena, they have outscored their opponents 20-5.
“I think every team in this league wants to establish that kind of presence at home,” Miller said, “and definitely the Red Wings have had that in the past here. It’s something we want to continue having when teams come in here. It’s a tough place to play, we have good fans, and we play hard.”
Emmerton said the big night will help him moving forward in the season.
“It’s one of those things, you know, trying to do the little things right, and when you’re fortunate enough to get a bounce or two, it gives you that much confidence and momentum to carry you through,” the rookie forward said. “As much as you hate to say it, but points are a big thing. In hockey it’s all about confidence and comfort level, and I was fortunate enough tonight to get a few.”
Miller opened the scoring for the Wings, scoring on a rebound from Darren Helm’s initial shot. It was his fourth goal of the season.
Emmerton scored his second goal of the year just 15 seconds later, redirecting a point shot from Jonathan Ericsson past starting goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Niklas Kronwall’s blast from the top of the circle 6:32 later was enough for Los Angeles’ interim coach John Stevens to replace Quick with back-up Jonathan Bernier.
Emmerton scored his second goal with 1:25 remaining in the opening period, firing in a one-timer off a pass from Abdelkader.
Two of the usual suspects – Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk – added goals in the second period to increase the Wings’ lead.
Then, 7:34 into the third, Miller added his second of the night – a goal that would give the Wings a 7-2 lead. Brad Stuart added the last tally for the Wings four minutes later.
Davis Drewiske and Jarret Stoll scored for Los Angeles, who are now 14-13-4 on the season. The club is expected to hire former Calgary coach Darryl Sutter to replace Terry Murray, who was fired earlier this week.
Miller said the 8-2 victory was an important win for the Wings before they start on a road trip that will take them across the continent.
“You want to get your home wins and definitely build off the positives from those games,” Miller said. “We have a lot of things we can build off from tonight’s game, and take on our road trip here for western Canada.”