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Datsyuk out Wednesday and most likely through the weekend; Nyquist remains on top line

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings’ practice Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.

Pavel Datsyuk has ruled himself out for Wednesday’s home game against the Boston Bruins and it doesn’t seem look like, at least from his response, he’ll be available for the home-and-home series with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday and Saturday.

Datsyuk was expected to miss roughly four weeks from the time he suffered a separated shoulder on Sept. 22.

He skated in gray with Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary, both of whom were healthy scratches the first two games.

Wings coach Mike Babcock kept his lines intact from Monday’s practice, which meant Gustav Nyquist will be skating on the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen.

“If you score goals it gives you confidence so that’s a nice start, but it doesn’t really matter who scores,” said Nyquist, who has tallied two of the Wings’ goal goals thus far. “We’re playing as a team and as a team I think we’ve started pretty good.”

Franzen has three assists.

Datsyuk setting up and scoring goals in practice

DETROIT >> Pavel Datsyuk (shoulder) practiced in a gray jersey Monday, which is for players injured or healthy scratches.

“We had a little competition at the end, he set up two goals and scored one himself so it looks to me like he’s … I don’t know,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “That’s the good thing about it, I don’t get to decide.”

Datsyuk was expected to miss roughly four weeks from the time he suffered a separated shoulder on Sept. 22.

Stephen Weiss and Daniel Cleary also practiced in gray jerseys. Both were healthy scratches the first two games.

Nyquist moved to top line with Zetterberg and Franzen hoping to generate more offense

DETROIT >> Gustav Nyquist practiced on the top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen in hopes of boosting the Wings’ offense, which has just four goals in two games.

“We’ve been in 10 games now, we haven’t scored,” said Wings coach Mike Babcock, who included their eight preseason games. “You don’t score real easy so far. I’m impressed with how hard we work. I’m impressed with our specialty teams, to be honest with you, impressed with our team speed, but we’ve got to finish more.”

Nyquist has two of the Wings’ four goals this season.

“(Nyquist) is one of the players who can play on all four lines,” Zetterberg said. “He’s a smart player, got a lot of skill. The goal he scored against Anaheim, not a lot of players in the league can do that.”

Wings’ fourth line seeing increased ice time

DETROIT >> Riley Sheahan’s line couldn’t do it and neither could the line centered by Darren Helm.

The Wings’ fourth line – Drew Miller and Joakim Andersson with Luke Glendening in the middle – did.

Wings coach Mike Babcock had Glendening’s line on the ice every time Anaheim put its second forward line with Ryan Kesler on the ice from the second period on Saturday night and they held him in check.

“For this team to win we’ve got to have 20 competitive guys every single night,” Babcock said after practice Monday at Joe Louis Arena. “If we don’t, we’re going to have a harder time. “I think that line has been one of our best lines two games in a row. They do what they do.”

Normal fourth lines in the NHL average less than 10 minutes a game. Through two games, the Wings’ fourth line is averaging 14 minutes a game.

“They check like crazy, they’re gritty,” Babcock said. “Glenny is a pain in the butt, let’s be honest, done a real nice job. Andy can make plays, he’s a good passer, he’s smart and competes. Millsy is real smart and works hard.

“They all three brought their game and that’s what we have to do,” Babcock continued. “You can’t play your game part way through, you’ve got to bring your game, you’ve got to arrive on time and you’ve got to compete. I think our team has a chance to be lightning fast and be a pain to play against.”

The three forwards, along with Justin Abdelkader, are also on the penalty kill that hasn’t allowed a goal in seven power play chances.

“You try and have as much O-zone time as you can and put pressure on their D,” Miller said. “We all know how to play that role and what our job is. They don’t ask us, I mean we want to score, but we’re not out there on the power play, playing minutes like (Henrik Zetterberg) and (Johan Franzen). We go out there and play our minutes and play our role.”

Glendening also scored a goal in the 3-2 loss to the Ducks.

“We’re a hardworking line, that plays smart and good defensively,” Andersson said. “We’re happy we got a lot of minutes there even though we started on fourth line.”

Babcock keep Nyquist on top line; fourth line logging minutes through two games

DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings’ practice Monday at Joe Louis Arena.

It appears as if coach Mike Babcock is going with the same group he’s played with the first two games of the season as Stephen Weiss, Daniel Cleary and Pavel Datsyuk (shoulder) all wore gray jerseys.

Weiss and Cleary were healthy scratches the first two games, while Datsyuk is still coming back from injury.

Babcock did keep Gustav Nyquist on the top line along with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen.

That moved Justin Abdelkader down with Darren Helm and Andrej Nestrasil.

A lot of the talk after practice was how well the fourth line of Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-Joakim Andersson have done thus far.

Miller and Glendening have after 14 minutes of ice time a game, while Andersson is just under 13.

“I think we’ve played both games good,” Andersson said. “We’re a hardworking line, play smart and good defensively. We worked hard down low in their end and some success there, we didn’t score, well Glenny scored there without us. We played well.”

That line was elevated to check Anaheim’s second line in Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Louis Arena.

“(Babcock) probably thought we’d play against him so we’re happy we got a lot of minutes there even though we started on fourth line,” Andersson said.

“You get out there, try and have as much O-zone time as you can and put pressure on their D,” Miller said. “I thought our lined played well (against Anaheim) and on top of that I think our penalty kill has been doing good.

“Even looking at last year there are nights where we’re matched up defensively against one of the top lines so you’re going to play more minutes,” Miller continued. “It’s just whatever the circumstances call for, but most teams four line minutes are 6-7 whereas here it’s like 9-10.”

Kesler gives Ducks more bite

DETROIT >> The Anaheim Ducks were a hard team to play against already.

With the addition of Ryan Kesler, they just got a little tougher.

“Kesler’s a real good player, obviously, he’s from here, he likes to play well here,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said of the Livonia native. “(Ryan) Getzlaf to me is one of the best players in the world and (Corey) Perry is playing with him. That makes them a very dangerous duo to say the least.”

In the Ducks’ 6-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kessler skated with Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg, while Perry was alongside Getzlaf and Patrick Maroon.

Kesler was traded from Vancouver to the Ducks this offseason.

“Any way you look at it that’s going to draw your focus,” Babcock said, looking forward to the Red Wings’ game against the Ducks at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday night. “Now, Kesler is a matchup center in the league. He would free up the Sedins (Daniel and Henrik) in Vancouver to play more. Maybe he’s going to be able to do that for Getzy.”

Most of the time, Babcock prefers to match up Henrik Zetterberg’s line – Johan Franzen and Justin Abdelkader – with the other opposing team’s top line, which means either the Riley Sheahan line – Tomas Tatar and Tomas Jurco – or Darren Helm’s line – Gustav Nyquist and Andrej Nestrasil – could get the Kesler line assignment.

“We’re going to see what happens at the start of the game,” Babcock said. “I always have a plan and I always have a B plan. If the A plan works, you stay with it. If it doesn’t you do something else. If that doesn’t work you do something else. We’ll figure it out tomorrow.”

Perry scored a hat trick in Thursday’s loss to the Penguins.

On the blue line, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson will most likely be on the ice every time Getzlaf’s line is out there, while Danny DeKeyser and Brendan Smith will draw the Kesler line.

“We’ve got to focus on ourselves,” Kesler said. “We can’t worry about who we’re going to match up against. We don’t have home-ice advantage so whoever we’re against we’re going to have to be solid defensively but take it to them. Use our size and speed to really dominate.”

Kesler had a goal and two assists on Thursday.

“You hope by having two top centers, you see what these guys have sometimes when they split (Pavel) Datsyuk and Zetterberg up it changes the dynamic of the team and it just makes things harder to defend,” Cogliano said. “We’re trying to find matches and guys to play with certain guys right now but when you have two centermen like that it makes things hard for the other team. Kess adds another dynamic to our team, adds another element of competitiveness, a little attitude to our team. I think he just helps our overall emotional level in games.”

Nyquist comes through with another timely goal; PP gets one

DETROIT >> Gustav Nyquist scored some timely goals for the Detroit Red Wings last season.

He was back at it Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Nyquist scored the Wings’ lone power play goal on four chances to lead them over the Boston Bruins, 2-1.

“That obviously feels real nice for the power play,” Nyquist said. “I thought (the power play) was OK tonight. I thought we could have done some things better but we still got some chances, I think. I think it worked a little better than it had in the preseason.”

The goal also helped get a power play going that limped along on its first two chances of the game.

On each of their first two man advantages, the Wings cleared the puck out of Boston’s zone with passes back to the point where no one was at.

“I think we’re getting a little more on the inside right now,” said Nyquist, who had 28 goals in 57 regular season games last year. “I thought our breakouts didn’t really work the way we wanted, but that’s something we can improve. But in zone, we’re getting a lot of bodies in front and I think that’s where we’re going to score a lot of goals so I like that.”

Nyquist had no goals over his last 11 games, including playoffs. His lost goal came on April 2, coincidently against the Bruins.

“No surprise,” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said when asked about Nyquist’s ability to score big time goals. “He’s a great player. He’s a hard worker in practice. He stays after and works on his game. It’s not surprise. He’s got that knack, nose for the net. He’s always in the right place at the right time.”

But back to the Wings’ new and improved power play.

“Our breakout was so bad early we couldn’t get into the zone,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We had no deception, so we talked about deception. Go back to our power play goal, (Niklas Kronwall) did a real good job of bring it up one side, looking everybody off and then going to (Henrik) Zetterberg who had easy access.”

Detroit’s power play began last season going 0-for-10 through four games.

“We weren’t getting any control (on the power play),” Babcock said. “When you think about their power play, except the four on three, they didn’t have a ton of control. That’s what good penalty kill teams do, they make you chase it around the whole time and they keep you on the wall. So we were finally able to make a play.”

The Wings’ penalty kill, which was stellar in the preseason, was 4-for-4.

The last kill was late in the third period as Detroit clung to a one-goal lead after Johan Franzen was sent off for elbowing. The Bruins pulled their goalie to make it a 6-on-4 advantage. And then Luke Glendening lost his stick early in the two-minute infraction.

“I’m pretty confident in the penalty kill, so I thought let’s just kill it off,” Babcock said. “We came out for the third like a young group, I didn’t think we were as assertive as we should have been, so having the penalty kill, you can be really aggressive. The part that really hurt us was when Glenny lost his stick and then broke his stick.”