LOS ANGELES - Since Oct. 2002, the Kings' games against the Detroit Red Wings have essentially been time wasters.
In 13 consecutive games over the past four-plus years, the Kings failed to record a regulation victory over the Red Wings, who have consistently been one of the NHL's top teams during that span.
Chalk it up to the law of averages, or more accurately, a determined effort by a fed-up Kings team, but that streak ended Saturday with a 4-2 victory over the Red Wings before 18,118 at Staples Center.
Down 2-0 after 21 minutes, the Kings responded with an inspired effort and four consecutive goals. The third, and game-winner, came with an accidental assist from Detroit defenseman Danny Markov.
With the Kings swarming the Detroit zone on a power play late in the game, Michael Cammalleri held the puck near the right boards and rocketed a centering pass in the direction of teammate Dustin Brown.
Markov, stationed in front of his net, tipped the puck away from Brown but directly past goalie Chris Osgood and into the back of the net to give the Kings a 3-2 lead with 1:55 remaining.
"They were doing a good job of filling the lanes and we were moving the puck around," Cammalleri said. "I knew Brownie was there so I was just trying to throw something in to him."
Sean Avery, who had put the Kings in peril with a diving penalty minutes earlier, added an empty-net goal with 1:04 left and the Kings recorded consecutive victories for just the fourth time this season.
The Kings had last defeated the Red Wings on Oct. 12, 2002. Later that month they also earned a tie, but then lost the next 12 games against Detroit, a trend that seemed likely to continue Saturday.
But after Mikael Samuelsson scored 14 seconds into the second period to put Detroit up 2-0, the Kings pulled together and put together two of their most complete periods of the season.
It started in goal. Mathieu Garon, coming off a shutout of Columbus two nights earlier, stopped 17 shots in the second period after Samuelsson's goal and made 32 saves in the game in another strong effort.
"We were giving them too much respect," Garon said. "In the first five or 10 minutes they were all over us. In the second period, we started doing good and in the third period we were awesome."
Lubomir Visnovsky got the Kings on the board 8:40 into the second period with a skilled goal.
Visnovsky carried the puck through the right side of the Detroit zone and went around defenseman Niklas Kronwall. Visnovsky faked as though he was heading to the back of the net, but quickly moved the puck to his forehand and sneaked a wrist shot past Osgood on his short side to cut the Kings' deficit to 2-1.
Less than two minutes later, the Kings tied it when Brian Willsie took a shot from the middle of the left faceoff circle and Blake came through the middle to knock in the rebound 10:31 into the period.
"We were aggressive and we kept the puck in our hands," Cammalleri said. "That's the only way you really have a chance against these guys."