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Three Questions: Wings-Capitals

DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 49th game

Saturday, 01.31.2009 / 3:24 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Three Questions: Wings-Capitals
Who was the star of the afternoon?

Ville Leino made his NHL debut Saturday afternoon, and he scored the game’s best goal in the first period.  Leino, who signed with the Wings last spring, skated with Marian Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk, and he had no problems fitting in with his superstar linemates.  With just under two minutes remaining in the opening period, Leino grabbed a bounce pass from Datsyuk, and raced to the Washington goal.  The 25-year-old was cut off in his drive to the cage, so he pulled a quick toe drag, and ended up spinning around so his back was facing goaltender Jose Theodore.  It didn’t stop Leino from scoring however; the former Finnish Elite League star scored on a backhand wraparound shot, beating Theodore low with a surprising shot.

Leino looked like an NHL regular throughout the contest.  He skated for 12:20 on 16 shifts, and picked up two hits to accompany his one-for-one shooting percentage.  Leino controlled the puck along the boards well, and his puckhandling and passing skills allowed him to excel with Datsyuk and Hossa.  His performance shouldn’t be a surprise; coach Mike Babcock said that Leino was the best player he had ever had to send down to the minors at the beginning of the season.

How did Justin Abdelkader look?

Former MSU Spartan Justin Abdelkader got his first chance with the Red Wings today as well.  Abdelkader, who was called up yesterday when the Red Wings reassigned Aaron Downey, centered the third line with Jiri Hudler and Dan Cleary.  Abdelkader was able to display his speed and grit throughout the contest.  He skated for 9:25, and he picked up two hits, two shots, and won both face-offs he took.  Abdelkader, along with Leino, is not far off from finding a permanent home on an NHL roster. 

What went wrong?


Leino and Abdelkader were able to get into the line-up because the Wings are banged up.  Henrik Zetterberg missed his second straight game, and Tomas Holmstrom missed the trip to Washington.  Hudler was questionable for the game, after his foot was so swollen that he couldn’t practice yesterday, but he made it into the line-up for today’s game.  Needless to say, the Red Wings are having trouble adjusting to looking at a different roster every game.  Once healthy, the Wings will be able to find more consistency between their lines, and they will be a very difficult team to stop.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  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
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
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