From Detroit — Each time Brad Richardson figured in the Kings' scoring Saturday at Joe Louis Arena -- he set up their first goal and redirected the winner past Jimmy Howard in a stunning 3-2 comeback victory over the Red Wings -- the public-address announcer called him Brad Richards, perhaps mistaking him for the Dallas Stars' prolific center.
"They're both good players," linemate Anze Kopitar offered. "Richie's been huge for us with his intensity and his energy every night. He's been playing a really solid game."
Richardson, a marginal forward until lately, is starting to make a name for himself. He played well Saturday in complementing Kopitar's one-goal, two-assist performance and helping the Kings rise to sixth in the congested Western standings.
"Good way to start a trip," said defenseman Matt Greene, a Michigan native who shared the team lead in hits with six.
The Kings and Nashville Predators have 29-19-3 records, but the Kings have a better goal differential. After beating the Red Wings for the first time in three games this season, the first time on the road since Feb. 7, 2008, and only the second time in Detroit in their last 11 games, the Kings moved three points ahead of eighth-place Calgary and ninth-place Detroit.
"There's a lot of teams around where we are," Richardson said. "We're just trying to get as many points as we can any way that we can."
They did it Saturday through persistence and remaining poised despite giving up two goals in the first period.
"It's a good feeling for this young group of guys to come in here and play the Detroit Red Wings and be able to win a significant game at this time of the year," Kings Coach Terry Murray said.
Valtteri Filppula put on a stickhandling exhibition on Detroit's first goal, 5:29 into the game. He and Dan Cleary worked the puck around the zone until Cleary passed to Filppula, who shifted from his forehand to his backhand a couple of times before going deep on the left side for a shot that sailed over Jonathan Quick's shoulder.
Detroit increased its lead to 2-0 at 7:31, during a two-man advantage. After the second penalty the Red Wings won a faceoff in their zone and controlled the puck, getting it back to Brian Rafalski at the blue line. His shot glanced off Todd Bertuzzi's leg.
The Kings didn't get rattled. They couldn't afford to.
"If you want to make the playoffs you can't get down on yourself," Richardson said.
The Red Wings, who surged into the top eight in the conference last week after a month of being on the outside looking in, had been 17-0-4 in games they led after two periods.
The Kings changed that.
Kopitar cut Detroit's lead to 2-1 at 1:55 of the second period. Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson tried to get the puck out of the zone by banging it off the boards but it was kept in by Wayne Simmonds. Kopitar took a shot that bounced in front, and when Howard couldn't cover it, Richardson took a whack at it. The puck popped up in the air and Kopitar swatted it over the goal line.
"I thought tonight he was a real horse," Murray said of Kopitar, adding that this was the Slovenian center's best game this season.
The Kings pulled even at 6:27 of the third on a nifty goal by defenseman Peter Harrold, who was trailing the play on the right side and rifled home a pass from Simmonds. They took the lead at 12:03 on Richardson's tip of a pass from Scott Parse, who was set up by Kopitar.
"It's always a tough building coming in here," Richardson said. "We got down early and they had a five-on-three, but we didn't play too bad in the first. It was just that they kind of got those bounces, but we played really good in the second and really good in the third and that was a huge win for us."
Every win is huge, every game a test of character. More often than not the Kings are passing those tests. Despite another futile night on the power play -- they were foiled three times and are 0 for 27 over their last six games -- they had the gumption to prevail thanks to Richardson's vigor, Simmonds' all-around intelligent play and Kopitar's rebirth.
Kopitar had 10 goals in his first 12 games but needed 39 games for his next 10, finally getting there Saturday. If Kopitar and his linemates can keep the Kings afloat on this five-game trip and beyond, as other lines have previously stepped up to make this team better than the sum of its parts, Richardson won't be alone in making his name known this season.