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Red Wings can still hit triple digits

Tuesday, 03.30.2010 / 11:31 AM ET / News
By Phil Coffey
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Red Wings can still hit triple digits
The Detroit Red Wings did create some doubts this season to be sure, but now that the end is in sight, it looks very much like the Wings are not life-and-death to make the playoffs, and with a good push could reach 100 points again. The Red Wings have seven games to play and can finish with a maximum of 105 points.

Getting everyone healthy, as has been mentioned in this space quite a few times, is key. It also doesn't hurt that rookie goalie Jimmy Howard has looked like anything but a rookie. Of course, Howard actually is 26 and has four seasons of AHL experience under his belt, so he has developed a game coming into this season.

"It really, really helped," Howard told NHL.com's John Manasso of his time with the Grand Rapids Griffins. "The extra year down there was very beneficial for me and I was able to iron out some things."

"He's a guy that's done a good job for us," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "He's gotten us to the point we're at. The test of time is what he's got to survive. There're been lots of goalies that have come into the league and some even won the rookie of the year and then you don't keep it going."
 
Very true, but for now, Howard ranks among the NHL's goaltending leaders -- not rookie leaders -- and his play has helped carry the Red Wings to familiar territory.
 
"I think he's just been getting better and better, especially once he settled down and started feeling comfortable in net, he's been outstanding for us," Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.
 
Aside from Howard, getting Johan Franzen back among the forwards, working primarily with Pavel Datsyuk, has been huge, and a healthy Andreas Lilja has cemented the top six on defense.
 
"I think we're really starting to show how we want to be playing the game, like we have in the past few years here," Niklas Kronwall told the Detroit Free Press. "We're playing more quickly on defense -- anytime anyone gets into our zone, we've been doing a better job of getting to the puck and making that first tape-to-tape pass a lot quicker. So instead of spending 30-40 seconds in your own zone, now we're on offense instead much quicker. Howie has been playing great for us -- some nights when we haven't been playing our best, he still has given us a chance."

DID YOU KNOW? Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom reached the 1,400-game plateau when he took the ice at Edmonton last Friday. Lidstrom, who has played his entire career in Detroit since entering the NHL in 1991, is the seventh player in League history to play at least 1,400 games for one team -- but he's the fourth Red Wing. According to NHL.com numbers guru John Kreiser, Gordie Howe (1,687), Steve Yzerman (1,514) and Alex Delvecchio (1,509) are the other Red Wings. Ray Bourque (1,518) and Johnny Bucyk (1,436) with Boston and Mike Modano (1,454) with the Stars in Minnesota and Dallas are the other NHLers with those long tenures.

Lidstrom is the fourth to play 1,400 or more games and spend his whole career with one team -- but the third Wing to do so, joining Delvecchio and Yzerman. Modano -- ironically, a Michigan native -- is the only other player with 1,400 games with one franchise, though he's done it in two cities.

POINTS TO PONDER: After a shootout victory against Nashville, Mike Babcock asked reporters a question: "Who's the best team in the West?"

Babcock then answered and made his point.

"I think Chicago's probably the best team in the West, but San Jose might be," Babcock said. "I guess that's what I'm trying to say is, I don't know if you interview 10 people if they'd all give you the same three. That's how tight the League is now and obviously with our experience, if we can get into the tournament, we feel we have a chance."


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