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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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80