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Confident Kindl nets first career PPG

Defenseman's four goal of the season gave Wings 2-1 lead

Thursday, 04.11.2013 / 11:49 PM ET / Recap
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Confident Kindl nets first career PPG

Jakub Kindl fires a shot that beats San Jose goalie Antti Niemi, giving the Red Wings a 2-1 lead in the third period. The goal was Kindl's first career power-play tally. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

DETROITJakub Kindl hasn’t registered a lot of power-play ice time in past seasons.

But there was something in his game Thursday that convinced the coaches to elevate the young defenseman to the special team’s first unit along side the Red Wings’ big guns.

“He plays a lot on our second unit, but we thought he was playing well so we put him on our first unit,” said coach Mike Babcock, following the Red Wings’ 3-2 shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks at Joe Louis Arena

The third-year defenseman responded by netting his first career power-play goal, which at the time put Detroit up 2-1 – its only lead of the game – over the Sharks.

After the Sharks’ 6-foot-5 defenseman-turned-forward Brent Burns received a minor penalty for holding, Babcock sent Kindl out to play the right point opposite defenseman Niklas Kronwall, with forwards Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen up front.

“We needed a score and Babs made the decision then he put me out there with the first unit and it worked out well,” Kindl said. “I got it in a perfect position there and I think anyone could score from that angle.”

Kindl’s goal was set-up nicely by Zetterberg, who slid a pass into the slot where the Czech defenseman dropped down and rifled a one-timer behind San Jose goalie Antti Niemi at 2:29 of the third period.

Prior to this season, Kindl averaged just 47-seconds of power-play time in three partial seasons in a Red Wings’ uniform. This season, he’s logging the second-most power-play minutes among Red Wings’ defensemen, behind Niklas Kronwall, who averages 3:37 of ice-time per game.

Kindl now has four goals, which is his single-season best in the NHL, and the most he’s scored since netting six goals during the 2008-09 AHL season in Grand Rapids.

“Obviously it’s nice when you get the opportunity, but at the same time you have to do a good job, a great job, otherwise you won’t earn the minutes out there,” Kindl said. “So I’m just focusing, every time I go out there, just try to shoot the puck and try to create havoc in front of the net. … Whenever I have the chance I just have to shoot, that’s all, that’s what I’m focusing.”

Despite the loss, the Red Wings still managed to grab one-point in the Western Conference standings. They remain in the No. 8 seed, two-points behind Minnesota and two-points ahead of Phoenix.

The Red Wings now head out on a four-game road trip that behind Friday in Chicago before making stops in Nashville, Calgary and Vancouver next week.

“Two points would have been a lot better. But we got one point,” Zetterberg said. “We got a game tomorrow again. We just gotta go in and play (a) solid road game in Chicago and head off to Nashville.”

THREE STARS: 3, Logan Couture, SJS (1 goal); 2, Jimmy Howard, DET (28 saves, L); 1, Patrick Marleau, SJS (1 goal, SO goal).

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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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