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Red Wings head into break on top

Tuesday, 02.14.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
Associated Press
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Red Wings head into break on top
DETROIT  - They were expected to struggle, their goaltending has been questioned and two of the players they expected to be among their top four defencemen have missed a combined 89 games. So how have the Detroit Red Wings managed to have an NHL-best 83 points at the Olympic break?

The Red Wings are 39-13-5 because those who were expected to perform have, those who were thought to be past their prime have shown they aren't, and others have made the most of their opportunities. And they all have bought into first-year coach Mike Babcock's no-nonsense energetic style.

Many thought Detroit would take a fall because of the league's new salary cap. That put the pressure on youngsters like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to take the next step and become the team's offensive leaders.

Datsyuk, 27, leads the team in points with 66 (21 goals and 45 assists), and Zetterberg, 25, is second with 61 and is tied for the team lead in goals with 26.

Zetterberg shares the lead in goals with 37-year-old Brendan Shanahan, whose days as an elite goal scorer were thought to be over.

Chris Chelios originally was slated to be in the third defence pair, but Niklas Kronwall's pre-season knee injury and Jiri Fischer's heart ailment forced the 44-year-old into the top-four defence rotation, and he has responded like a man 15 years younger.

Also on defence, Nicklas Lidstrom, 35, has returned to his three-time Norris Trophy winning form, and another veteran, Mathieu Schneider, 36, has 19 goals and is on pace to shatter his career-best mark of 20.

Detroit's biggest surprise has been right wing Mikael Samuelsson. A late pre-season signee who had previously only scored 19 goals in 188 games with four NHL teams, Samuelsson has had 20 goals and leads the Red Wings with a plus-22.

And while Manny Legace hasn't proved he can carry a team through the playoffs yet, his numbers in the regular season look good. His 1.99 goals-against average is the league's lowest, and he has a 25-6-2 record with a .920 save percentage and five shutouts.

The Red Wings have 25 games left in the regular season. Their first game after the Olympic break is Feb. 28 on the road against the San Jose Sharks.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89