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Notebook: Wings look to the East

Washington, Pittsburgh to provide tough test in next week

Tuesday, 03.15.2011 / 2:25 PM ET / News
By Dave Burke  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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Notebook: Wings look to the East
DETROIT – The Red Wings will receive a good test when Eastern Conference powers Washington and Pittsburgh visit Joe Louis Arena in the next six days.

The games could be used as a good measuring stick going into the Stanley Cup playoffs as the Capitals are right in the thick of the hunt for the Eastern crown only one point behind Philadelphia. The last time the Wings and Caps met was early last year when the Tomas Holmstroms’ third-period power play goal was the difference in a 3-2 win.

This Washington team seems to have a more defensive strategy and captain Nicklas Lidstrom agrees.

“We haven’t seen them yet, but they’re playing real well right now as a team,” he said. “They have the offensive guys that can score the goals for them and they’re playing real well defensively and that’s one of the reasons they’re winning.

“It’s great for the fans, great for the crowd to see some of the high profile players in the Eastern Conference that you don’t get to see a whole lot. (Alex) Ovechkin might be the best player in the world, along with Pav on our side. So it’s a great challenge for our team to face them when you see such a dynamic player like Ovechkin. He’s got the speed, the power, he’s got that shot.”

For the players, playing Eastern teams give them a welcomed change of pace.

“Yeah it’s always good to play against top teams, especially since we don’t get to see a lot of the Eastern Conference,” forward Danny Cleary said. “We played a good home-and-home against Boston, that was a good series, but Washington will certainly be a good test.”

Wings coach Mike Babcock knows that the Caps are a hot team coming in, and that the Wings will need to have a solid game.

“They’re playing real well,” he said. “They’ve won eight in a row.  I watched them play against Carolina a little bit and watched them against Chicago. They’re good without the puck, they’re a big team and the backend really skates. They’re physical and have good goaltending. Then they have the guys that can score so that makes for a good team. They’ve been way more patient than they have in the past when I watch them now.”

Injuries have caught up with the Penguins, who have been without forward Evgeni Malkin, who suffered a MCL and ACL last month, and will be out the rest of the season.

Center Sidney Crosby is the other injured star and has been out since early January with concussion-like symptoms.

Even with these crucial injuries, the Penguins have battled valiantly and still hold onto the fourth overall spot in the East’s playoff race.

Pittsburgh and Detroit have had a lot of history the last few seasons, with back-to-back showdowns in Stanley Cup finals in 2008 and ‘09.

“It’s good to see what other teams are like in the East,” forward Darren Helm said. “Good to see how they play and what style they use. You kind of see where everyone stacks up. Every team is so good now; there are only six, seven or eight points that separate teams from first to 11h or 12th in our division. It’s pretty similar to their division, as well.”

While the Caps and Pens are in a different conference, the overall objective for the Red Wings stays the same.

“Yeah it’s no different than the top teams in our conference,” center Mike Modano said. “Just a different flavor and you get to see some different players. They’re exciting and good, but it’s always about improving and getting better. It doesn’t matter whether we play Edmonton, St. Louis or Washington, it’s about getting points.”



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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