DETROIT — The Kings made it look easy Saturday night when they scored five power-play goals to beat the Detroit Red Wings, 8-3, at the Forum,
But the Red Wings came back to send the Kings down to an 8-6 loss in the rematch Wednesday night before 17,163 fans at Joe Louis Arena.
"Our defense was awful," King Coach Pat Quinn said after watching his team lose its second straight game and permit a number of breakaways. "There's no excuse for giving up five breakaway goals. You can't call that a National Hockey League defense. We made too many bloody mental errors.
"Last night, I was disappointed (after a 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders Tuesday), because we played well enough to win. But tonight, I'm devastated. This must have been one of those games like this team played last season.
"If we played defense like that against the Oilers (in the first round of the playoffs), we might be out in one game. They might cancel the other two."
The Kings didn't exactly take Motown by storm in losing to Detroit for the first time since 1981, a streak of 10 games in which they had gone 7-0-3.
But left wing Dave (Tiger) Williams, who was traded by Detroit to the Kings last week, played well against his former team. Williams scored one goal and had two assists. He did a little dance after scoring in the second period, pumping his fist in the air as he raced out to center ice. Linemates Doug Smith and Steve Shutt also had good games, each getting one goal and two assists.
With the Kings trailing, 5-2, after the second period, the Smith-Williams-Shutt line accounted for two goals in a 38-second span of the third period.
Williams has three goals and three assists in four games with the Kings.
"I think Tiger is revitalized," Quinn said. "We didn't expect that much offense from him."
Williams was not called for any penalties, but he got in one of the hardest hits of the night, checking Detroit center Dwight Foster over the boards and into the penalty box at the end of the first period.
"I didn't know what happened," Foster said. "I just saw something (Williams) coming. He kind of rolled me over the boards. Tiger is always there. He's the type of player they're going to need in the playoffs."
Said Detroit Coach Nick Polano: "That's the best game I've ever seen Tiger play. He didn't play that well against us even when he was with Vancouver. I think he wanted to show us that we made a mistake by trading him."
There was a large crowd of reporters and TV cameramen waiting for Williams in the locker room after the game. And Williams couldn't resist getting in a few shots at the Red Wings, who sent him down to the minors last month.
Asked if he had any hard feelings against Detroit for getting rid of him, Williams, rubbing his hand over one of his well-developed biceps, said: "I'm pretty hard all over. I had nothing to prove. But I never got a chance here. Even Secretariat couldn't run if he didn't get a chance to warm up.
"It felt good to get on the ice. I was here for 52 games and I didn't get a chance to hit the net. I think I've played fairly consistent since I've been in L.A. The best thing that happened to me was going to L.A."
The Red Wings' John Ogrodnick, who had one goal and two assists, said: "I think Tiger has gotten a new lease on life. He didn't want to end his career in the minors."
The Red Wings, who gave up five goals on seven power plays against the Kings in Saturday's loss, didn't give up any power-play goals in five chances Wednesday night.
"They embarrassed us out there in L.A.," said Foster, who led Detroit with two goals, including an empty-netter with 1:18 left in the game. "We really wanted to shut down their power play tonight."
Foster also did a fine job of checking center Marcel Dionne, the Kings' leading scorer. Dionne had only three shots, although he did score a goal with 36 seconds left in the game.
"Someone told me that we hadn't beaten the Kings since 1981," Polano said. "One of the reasons we won tonight was because of the excellent job Foster did against the Marcel Dionne line."
Ogrodnick, voted the star of the game, scored his 52nd goal of the season to tie the club record Mickey Redmond set in 1972-73 for most goals in one season.
"I think scoring my 50th goal meant more to me than the record," Ogrodnick said. "I never would have dreamed that I'd score 50 goals in the National League."
Ogrodnick teamed up for a shorthanded goal with right wing Ron Duguay as the Red Wings scored three consecutive goals in a 1:33 span of the second period to break the game open.