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Smith gets Second Start; Bertuzzi's close to Return

Friday, 11.18.2011 / 9:30 PM ET
By Bill Roose - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com / The Wheel Deal
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Smith made his debut Thursday, skating more than 19-minutes in the Wings 5-2 loss to the Sharks. (Getty Images)
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Looks like rookie defenseman Brendan Smith will play in the second game of his career, while veteran forward Todd Bertuzzi hopes to get back into the lineup when the Red Wings face the Los Angeles Kings Saturday afternoon at Staples Center.

“Smith's playing,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I liked him a lot, what I don't want him to do is be careful. He knows he belongs. He's just got to eliminate some mistakes. But he's like all kids, he's going to make some mistakes.”

Smith had a solid performance in making his NHL debut Thursday – a 5-2 loss to San Jose. He logged more than 19-minutes of ice-time, including two-minutes on the power play. The one mistake he made was on a giveaway deep in the Wings’ zone that led to the Sharks’ third goal of the game.
 
Still, Thursday’s game provided a look into Smith’s bright NHL future as a dominant two-way defenseman.

“I thought he played well, skated well,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “He's got that good shot. Played well with the puck, too.”

Shortly after the Wings’ practice here Friday at the Toyota Sports Center, Smith alerted his 6,300-followers on Twitter, writing, “As of right now looks like I will get another kick at the can in tomorrow's game. Excited to try to get my first NHL win/point.”

As for Bertuzzi, his status for Saturday’s game isn’t as cut and dried. He was placed on short-term injured reserved last Sunday, and has missed the last six games with vertigo-like symptoms which began as a sinus infection.

Babcock said that Bertuzzi will be a game-time decision Saturday. However, if Bertuzzi has anything to say about it, he’ll either play Saturday afternoon or Sunday evening at Anaheim.

“I felt a lot better today. We'll see how it is tonight,” he said. “I didn't come all the way here without thinking there was a chance (to play). Got to see how I feel in the morning.”

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  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
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10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 53 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 54 10 27 4 37
T. Tatar 53 16 17 0 33
G. Nyquist 54 14 16 0 30
P. Datsyuk 39 8 21 13 29
J. Abdelkader 54 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 40 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 50 7 8 13 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 4 .934 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89