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Notebook: Williams enjoys shootout role

Thursday, 02.11.2010 / 1:12 PM ET / News
By Michelle Crechiolo  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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Notebook: Williams enjoys shootout role
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DETROIT – With snipers like Pavel Datysuk and Henrik Zetterberg, it’s almost taken for granted that the Red Wings would own most shootout situations. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case this season.

Datsyuk ranks as the team’s best shootout performer, finding the back of the net on 6-of-10 attempts. He is tied with five others, including Sidney Crosby, for first in the NHL. The percentages decline drastically after that, with Zetterberg scoring only 2-of-10 shots for a dismal 20 percent success rate. Both Jason Williams and Todd Bertuzzi are 2-of-5, scoring on 40 percent of their attempts.

The Wings rank No. 21 in the NHL in shootouts with a 4-7 record, scoring on only 14-of -42 attempts. In the 2008-09 campaign, they performed slightly better and got more wins, with 13 goals on 33 shots for a 6-4 mark.

It’s a situation that the Wings know they need a lot of improvement in, especially with their ongoing battle for a Western Conference playoff spot. Winning shootouts means adding an additional point in the standings, which the Wings desperately need.

The importance of the shootout is not something that Wings coach Mike Babcock has overlooked, though it isn’t necessarily his favorite situation.

“I think it’s an exciting thing for the fans,” Babcock said. “The ones I hate the worst is if you happen to lose one at home, because your fans leave thinking you lost the game. To me, it’s something after the fact, and yet you and I both know how big these points are. They become very important, and the selecting of the players in order to do it right leaves you a chance to second-guess yourself.”

For his first three shooters, Datysuk and Zetterberg are Babcock’s staples, participating in every shootout they are in the lineup for. Williams and Bertuzzi are usually the third choices, and if the first round doesn’t decide the game, the other participants are decided on “their record, but I also decide on who I think is playing well, and key moments,” Babcock said.

Babcock felt that Zetterberg was the “perfect guy” to be going third in the 4-3 shootout loss in St. Louis on Tuesday, but was realistic about the outcome.

“I thought he’d deliver, and you know, sometimes it just doesn’t happen. That’s just the way life is,” he said. “So you make what you think is your best educated decision, and you don’t win, you did it wrong. Simple.”

Although he admits feeling slightly nerve-wracked, Williams enjoys shooting after Datysuk and Zetterberg, pointing out that he can learn from their successes or failures.

“I think you’re kind of at your best when you don’t really have too much pressure on you,” Williams said. “I kind of like it when Pav or if Hank went first, just so I can kind of see what the goaltender likes, if he likes to come out and challenge, or if he stays deep in his net.”

Williams likes being one of Babcock’s go-to guys in a shootout situation, hoping to contribute to his team’s success by scoring a big goal.

“When you’re battling for a playoff spot like we are,” he said, “every point is crucial, and it kind of sucks to decide a game on a shootout, but I think it just adds excitement for the fans. I just happen to be one of those guys that is called upon most of the time, and I enjoy it.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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