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Notebook: Abbie in the clutch

Kronwall to miss third straight game with upper body injury

Tuesday, 04.5.2011 / 3:12 PM ET / News
By Dave Burke  - DetroitRedWings.com Intern
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Notebook: Abbie in the clutch
DETROIT – Almost exactly four years ago, Justin Abdelkader scored the game-winning goal for his alma mater, Michigan State, to clinch the national championship against Boston College.

The goal was scored with 18.9 seconds left in regulation and was the latest game-winning goal in NCAA championship history, a clutch goal to say the least. So far this season, the Red Wings’ forward has been clutch when taking advantage of his ice time. 

The Muskegon, Mich., native is in his first full NHL regular-season, playing in 71 games, where he’s been a physical impact player, leading the team with 179 hits. He has seven goals with a 11 assists and has a plus-13 rating.

“I’ve just got more games under my belt, more experience, more comfortable, more confident,” Abdelkader said. “I just feel like I belong now, compared to previous years.”

With a veteran laden team, Abdelkader has gotten a nice dose of savvy advice from his teammates.

“The veterans have been really good,” he said. “They have kind of showed us younger guys how it should be done, on and off the ice. How you need to work, train, how to prepare for games. I think that’s how it always has been here. This is a great organization for younger guys to come up through and learn from the guys who have been there and done that. That’s why they’ve been successful.” 

Captain Nicklas Lidstrom has seen the growth spurt occur in front of him this season and sees him use one of his greatest attributes to his advantage.

“When he’s using his size to his advantage, he’s tough to play against,” Lidstrom said. “He’s a strong skater and he gets in on the forecheck. I think that line with he, Mule (Johan Franzen) and Bert (Todd Bertuzzi) together are tough to defend. They’re big bodies who protect the puck and can score as well.”

A hard-hitting forward, Abdelkader knows what is expected of him and his role.

“I’ve spent the majority of the season on the wing and been playing center now and can be versatile wherever they play me,” he said. “I just go out there work hard and keep it simple and hopefully keep growing my game and keep getting better.”

Veteran forward Danny Cleary believes he saw Abdelkader play his best game of his career when he scored twice and was a physically presence in last Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win at Nashville.

“He did a great job, he did everything,” Cleary said. “Putting aside the two goals he scored, he played terrific, he was physical and played really hard and it really showed.”

DESPERATE TEAMS AWAIT: With the regular-season winding down, the Wings final three games are against two teams fighting for playoff spots. First, the Wings travel to Carolina on Wednesday to take on a Hurricane team currently is in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, but is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

The Wings and Blackhawks finish the season with home-and-home games in Detroit on Friday and Sunday in Chicago.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks are playing for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“Playing Carolina, they are in the same boat (as Chicago), where they’re going to be a desperate team battling to make the playoffs and need the wins,” Lidstrom said. “So they’re going to be some tough games heading down the stretch.”

INJURY UPDATE: According to coach Mike Babcock, defenseman Niklas Kronwall (upper body) will miss his third straight game when the Wings play Carolina on Wednesday in Raleigh.

 

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 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59