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Wings cautious of Jackets' triple-header

Letdown not in the cards in three-games vs. Columbus

Thursday, 04.1.2010 / 2:07 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Wings cautious of Jackets\' triple-header
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DETROIT – Over the next nine days, the Red Wings will face off with Central Division rival Columbus three times. How the Wings fare in those games will have a tremendous impact on their Western Conference playoff status.

The Blue Jackets have struggled to build on their success from last season, when they made their first playoff appearance in franchise history. This year, Columbus (32-32-13) is ranked 14th out of 15 conference clubs. The Wings hold a 2-0-1 record over the Blue Jackets, including a 9-1 win in Columbus on Nov. 11.

However, over their last 10 games, the Blue Jackets are 6-2-2, which has caught the attention of the Wings.

“They’ve been playing well, they’re going to play hard,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I think they come after you when they can, and they’re patient when they can’t. In saying that, it’s not about them at all. It’s just about us, in our opinion. We have to look after our game and continue to try to improve and we need points to get in the playoffs.”

The Red Wings have 93 points and are one point behind the Nashville Predators for the No. 5 seed. The Wings host Nashville on Saturday.

“We need to continue to keep our foot on the gas and continue to play our style of play,” goalie Jimmy Howard said. “Everything will take care of itself, the standings and everything like that. So we just have to worry about ourselves and get ready for the playoffs.

“We can’t take them lightly. They always play us really hard, actually every single team in this league play us hard because of who we are and that we’re wearing the Red Wings across our chest, so we never get a night off, and don’t expect that tonight or the other two times we play them.”

A main focus for the Wings over the next week and a half will be stopping Jackets captain Rick Nash, who leads Columbus with 65 points. In three games against the Wings, Nash has been held to one goal and a minus-three rating.

Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said that shutting down Nash is a full-team effort.

“I think it’s not only that we’ve got our defensemen out there against him,” Lidstrom said, “we have forwards back check hard and putting the backside pressure on him that makes it harder for him to make plays and buy time with the puck.”

Babcock said the line of Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom will be counted on to keep Nash off the score sheet. The Wings’ coach is interested to see how Franzen, especially, handles the role as he is still getting back into game shape for knee surgery.

“He’ll get a good challenge here,” Babcock said. “We’re going to have him head to head against Nash, so he’s going to have to play without the puck. That’s important for us, and that’s important for him to be able to handle that situation.”


HELM, WILLIAMS IN; CLEARY OUT:
Babcock confirmed that forwards Darren Helm and Jason Williams will play Thursday, and Dan Cleary is still day-to-day with a groin injury.

Helm said that his sore foot should hold up after he had some skate modifications done to relieve pressure in the area.



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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