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Wings prepare for Western standoff

Draper shows off his American spirit at morning skate

Saturday, 01.23.2010 / 3:32 PM ET / News
By Michelle Crechiolo  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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Wings prepare for Western standoff
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DETROIT – The Red Wings are preparing for yet another battle Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings, whom they trail in the Western Conference standings by one point.

The Kings currently sit in seventh place with 59 points, while the Wings are holding on to eighth place at 58 points. The top eight teams from each conference advance to the Stanley Cup playoffs. This is the third of four meetings between these clubs, with the Wings posting victories in the first two games.

“It’s a big game for both teams, obviously we were both trying to climb in the standings and secure ourselves playoff position,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “There’s going to be lots of big games in the West between now and the end of the year.”

The last time these two teams met -- on Jan. 7 at StaplesCenter -- forward Darren Helm scored the game-winner with 17.7 seconds left in regulation to give the Wings a 2-1 victory.

Despite securing the victory, LA was the team controlling play, barraging Wings goalie Jimmy Howard with 52 shots. That was the most shots a Wings’ goaltender has faced in a single game since Greg Stefan with 53 shots in 1989.

Although the Kings dominated their offensive zone during that game, Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom was happy with the way his team played.

“Even though in that game they had a lot of chances, I thought we did a good job playing solid defensively,” Lidstrom said.

LIGHTENING THE MOOD: During Saturday’s morning skate, veteran winger Kris Draper strayed from the team’s usual practice jersey colors of red, white and black. Instead, Draper sported a blue Team USA sweater.

Which doesn’t seem to be a big deal, except Draper is a proud Canadian.

Draper and American-born defenseman Brett Lebda made a friendly bet on the World Junior Championship game that took place on Jan. 6 between the US and Canada. The US scored a thrilling overtime win.

“Brett Lebda and myself, we had a nice little wager on the World Juniors, and obviously one of the things was whoever lost had to wear the other countryman’s jersey,” Draper laughed.

But Lebda was prepared for any hesitation on Draper’s part to sport the jersey.

 “I never said anything about it to him, and I think he thought I forgot about it,” Lebda said. “I was rallying some troops just in case when it came in that he was going to put up a hard time.”

Draper joked that he hoped Lebda had forgotten about the bet, but when the time came to pay up, he was a good sport — even commenting on the quality of the jersey.

“(Lebda) did a great job, very nice, very classy on his part, and you know, it’s just a bet we had, and I had to live up to my end,” Draper said.

“It turned out to be a lot of fun,” Lebda said. “It loosened the mood a little bit today.”

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
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80