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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 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89