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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 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