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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 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