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Maltby off to a quick start offensively

Friday, 10.16.2009 / 3:36 PM ET / News
By Christy Hammond  - Community Relations Manager
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Maltby off to a quick start offensively
DETROIT – Kirk Maltby’s goal Thursday against the Los Angeles Kings marked his second of the season, making it the fastest that he’s reached that total to start a year since 2002-03 when he scored two goals along with an assist in a 6-3 season-opening win at San Jose.

In addition to his two tallies, Maltby has also recorded a pair of assists in his first four games this season. His four points best the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary, Valtteri Filppula and Nicklas Lidstrom. This offensive surge becomes even more surprising when you consider that he has played two fewer games than his teammates due to being a healthy scratch.

“It feels very rewarding and you feel very happy when you are able to contribute on the score sheet and help the team win games,” Maltby said. “When you do that, it just takes a lot of pressure off of all the other guys and allows them to just go play.”

The veteran forward has been taking a lot of heat of late due to his hot hands with teammate Kris Draper leading the way.

“We saw the (replay) video and that was kind of the freeze frame of his celebration and us going out on the ice,” Draper said, “so he’s taking it all in stride, absolutely, but anytime you get a chance to rip Malts, you do it.”

Coach Mike Babcock placed Maltby on the third line with Draper and Tomas Holmstrom in Thursday’s game – a 5-2 win over the Kings. The line brought some stability on the penalty kill and the forecheck. By the end of the night, the trio finished with a combined plus-one rating and recorded two goals. Babcock intends to have the same line play against Colorado on Saturday because of their chemistry against LA.

“It’s always nice being able to play with a guy like Homer because he goes and gets those pucks and goes into the hard areas,” Maltby said. “So when you have a guy like that and Drapes with his speed, it makes a lot of things a lot easier.”

With the loss of four forwards to free agency over the summer and Johan Franzen’s serious knee injury last week, the third and fourth lines are expected to contribute more offensively than in previous seasons. Maltby doesn’t view this responsibility as added pressure, rather an opportunity.

“I don’t expect to go out there and score every night and I know I’m not expected to,” Maltby said, “but to be able to chip in here and there is going to help the big guys and just allow them to go out and play with confidence.”

DATSYUK OUT SATURDAY: Despite skating and shooting on Friday, forward Pavel Datsyuk remains out with an upper body injury and will not play in Saturday’s contest against Colorado.

In other roster news, Chris Osgood will get the start in net and forward Brad May will re-enter the lineup. Babcock is unsure as to which player he will replace on the fourth line.

“I had four guys on that line today,” Babcock said. “I worked that out and I’ll sleep on it one more time.”

PLAYING COLORADO: The Wings will host the Avalanche Saturday, but it’ll be a different team than what Detroit is used to seeing. For one, Joe Sakic is no longer captain of the team after retiring in July. In addition, the Avs currently sit atop the Western Conference standings thanks to a hot 5-1-1 start.

“They’re in first place overall and obviously doing a good job,” Babcock said. “They’ve put kids in their lineup. The (Matt) Duchene kid, in my understanding, is a fantastic player. (Ryan) O’Reilly looks like he’s contributing for them. I don’t know these guys at all. We’re just breaking down their two games right now so I’ll have a better handle on it by tomorrow.”

HOMER REBOUNDS: Holmstrom wasn’t a picture of perfect health last season, particularly in the playoffs, and didn’t play the way he wanted to as a result. In his first six games this season the now-healthy Swede has turned it around, leading the team with four goals.

“I thought he was good last night,” Babcock noted. “We need him to make good decisions so his line can get through the neutral zone and then he’s got to get to the net and be physical in puck retrievals. He’s been doing that.”




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
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