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Babcock shuffles Wings' lineup

Detroit coach is seeking options for success on home stand

Tuesday, 02.5.2013 / 1:49 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Babcock shuffles Wings\' lineup

DETROIT – Coach Mike Babcock plans to shuffle the Red Wings lineup for tonight’s game against the struggling Calgary Flames, who come to town sporting the league’s worst record with just one win in six games.

Brian Lashoff
Defense - DET
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 1
SOG: 5 | +/-: -2
Points are crucial for the Wings who need to make hay this month with eight of the next 11 games at Joe Louis Arena, which is why Babcock is looking for a spark. In tonight will be a pair of rookies – defenseman Brian Lashoff and forward Tomas Tatar, while two veterans – defenseman Jakub Kindl and forward Patrick Eaves, will get the night off.

“I just want to win,” declared Babcock. “It’s just about trying to figure out what’s the best option that gives us the best chance that’s what you’re trying to do on a nightly basis.

“Lash did a real good job for us on the penalty kill. Specialty teams are huge for us. The Flames’ power is about eighth in the league, around 24 percent, we’re probably going to take a couple penalties, but we want to be disciplined so we want to kill them off and we feel Lash gives us the best opportunity to do that.”

Since getting blitzed in a 6-0 shutout on opening night in St. Louis, the Red Wings have improved immensely, garnering points in four of the last five games with a 3-1-1 record.

But there’s still room for improvement, Babcock said.

“We’re in the battle like everyone else,” he said. “We’ve played two really poor games then a whole bunch of games where we like our team. Our first game and our last game weren’t good enough with energy with excitement with the way we played. I really thought we got on our way the other night when we played St. Louis, but it just goes to show you a coach should never think like that. You should just be scared your whole life and things will turn out all right.”

The Wings also hope that Tatar can bring some secondary scoring when he skates with center Pavel Datsyuk and forward Valtteri Filppula. Detroit is still looking for someone to jump up and fill a scoring punch role vacated by the loss of Jiri Hudler, who signed with the Flames during the off-season.

“We’re hoping (Tatar) is a bit like Huds,” Babcock said. “We’re not generating much from our bottom six. Originally we were going to play him there, but we’re going to put him with Fil and Pavel and give him a chance. That gives me better depth on the third line. You look at their third group with (Curtis) Glencross, (Lee) Stempniak and (Mikael) Backlund that line’s got more goals than the top two lines so our third line has to be good tonight.”

Justin Abdelkader will center the Wings’ third line between forwards Todd Bertuzzi and Daniel Cleary.

The leadership of Henrik Zetterberg’s line has done more than their share of goal-scoring for the Wings, who are still seeking offensive production from their bottom-six forwards. Zetterberg has five goals and seven assists in the last seven games, while Damien Brunner (four goals, two assists) and Johan Franzen (two goals, five assists) are also riding six- and five-game point streaks, respectively.

“Listen, every team is looking for points,” Cleary said. “The same story line is going to happen between now and April, and it’s only going to get more intensified. Calgary is obviously looking to get going. We’re looking to get going. We’re on a home stand here with a lot of games at home. We actually had a great schedule to start the year and we need to take advantage of it.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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