Detroit Red Wings
RedWingsSeasonTickets.com Follow @DetroitRedWings on Twitter! Follow the Red Wings on Facebook! Follow @DetroitRedWings on Instagram! Follow OfficialDRW on Snapchat! Get Red Wings Email Updates Get Red Wings Text Updates Get the Detroit Red Wings Official Mobile App
 

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

Abdelkader 'pulls the piano' for Wings

Forward nets first goal, looks to continue with high-energy

Friday, 03.8.2013 / 3:35 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
X
Share with your Friends


Abdelkader \'pulls the piano\' for Wings

Justin Abdelkader
Left Wing - DET
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 1 | PTS: 2
SOG: 42 | +/-: -4
DETROIT Pavel Datsyuk’s English isn’t always easy to understand. But the Russian star perfectly described what Justin Abdelkader meant to the Red Wings in the first half of the season, which ended with Thursday’s 3-0 win over Edmonton.

“He goes through and gets the puck to me or goes back in front of the net and fights for every puck,” Datsyuk said, Friday afternoon. “Some people only measure him if he scores. But if you see him … he does a lot of hard jobs.”

Abdelkader was finally rewarded for his hard work when he scored his first goal of the season Thursday at Joe Louis Arena, which snapped a 41-game scoring drought.

Using an analogy to sum up Abdelkader’s contribution to the top six forwards this season, Datsyuk said, “It’s like somebody needs to pull the piano and somebody needs to play the piano. This is a guy who pulls the piano.”

Forget that Abdelkader’s first goal in nearly a year was an empty-netter. After the game, the former Michigan State standout – who scored perhaps the most important goal in Spartans’ hockey history with his last-second gem that clinched the 2007 national championship – said it felt like he hadn’t scored in four years.

“It’s one of those things where I felt that I had a lot of chances, but for whatever reason haven’t gotten the breaks,” Abdelkader said. “Hopefully this will break the bad spell and hopefully I keep doing the things that I’ve been doing, getting the pucks to the net and hope for some breaks. But it’s always nice to get that first one.”

Abdelkader went 41 games, including last season’s playoffs, without a goal. But what he has lacked in the scoring column, Abdelkader has more than made up for in other areas with energy and physicality. He leads the Red Wings with 52 hits this year, a category that he has led all Detroit forwards in over the last two seasons.

Abdelkader also got a break when coach Mike Babcock elevated him to the Datsyuk line opposite Daniel Cleary on Feb. 21.

Though he believes the dubious streak was his longest at any level, sticking to the basics will help lift him out of his doldrums, Abdelkader said.

“I’m just trying to get pucks to the net,” said Abdelkader, who is sixth on the team with 42 shots. “There have been a lot of chances that I’ve had. They’ve been real close, but not quite. I feel that it was coming, and I guess it’s always nice to break it on a goal like that last night.

“I just want to keep doing a lot of the same things. Points are one thing, goals are one thing, but at the same time you want to feel good about your game all over the rink, offensively and defensively.”

MID-TERM GRADES: Now that the Red Wings have reached the halfway point to this compressed 48-game season, Babcock said they missed the goal by two points.

Heading into this weekend’s home-and-home series with Columbus, the Red Wings are fourth in the Western Conference standings with 28 points.

“We thought that if we had 30 points we'd be in a good position,” Babcock said. “We actually had hoped to get 34, but we still think we've done a lot of good stuff and we're getting better.”

The Wings have a far more positive outlook heading into the second half of the campaign, compared to the beginning of the year when it seemed that someone went down with an injury on a daily basis.

Depth from the club’s minor-league affiliate in Grand Rapids has helped with putting a rosier perspective on the last seven weeks of the season, Babcock said.

“All those guys (from Grand Rapids) got one game, period,” he said. “Then they earned another game, and then they earned another game, and I look down and they've played 14 games, some of them. Those came on an earned basis.”

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
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
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80