Jonathan Ericsson fired the puck, and it squeezed through the pads of Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and dribbled slowly toward the net.

Would Quick see it quickly enough to stop it before it crossed the goalline?

Would the puck suddenly stop, or veer another direction?

No.

It went into the net, and the Red Wings, with 4.5 seconds left in the game, defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Sunday.

Ericsson's goal was a big relief to the Wings and the Joe Louis Arena crowd because Rochester Hills native Alec Martinez had just tied the game with 53 seconds left.

"The funniest part, actually, was one of the linesmen was thanking me after I scored," Ericsson said. "He said, 'Thank you so much because I really have to go pee. I wouldn't have lasted the overtime.'

"That was kind of funny."

Ericsson never saw the puck slowly wiggle into the net.

"I just saw the ref pointing (for the goal); that was good enough," Ericsson said.

What an incredible ending. The Red Wings went from potentially losing one valuable point to gaining two points, and sweeping a three-games-in-four-day stretch that earned them their first three-game win streak of the season.

"You go from we're going to get a point, to we just got two points, back-to-back games in 20 hours, three game in four nights, you're just hoping for two wins," coach Mike Babcock said. "To get three is positive for us."

Give plenty of credit to goalie Jimmy Howard for Sunday's victory.

Howard was outstanding in making a season-high 45 saves, and keeping the Red Wings in position to win with a huge 23-save effort in the second period with the Kings buzzing around his net the entire 20 minutes.

"We got off to a good start in the game and we knew at some point the energy wasn't going to be very good," Babcock said. "They really took over. But Howie made some great saves, one after another actually.

"He gave an opportunity to hang in there."

Said Howard of Sunday's workload: "Some nights you get a lot of work, some games you don't. You just have to find a way to make saves for your team and I was able to do that."



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130210/SPORTS0103/302100335#ixzz2KajJswQE