DETROIT – Daniel Cleary admits scoring his first goal of the season Thursday night felt pretty good.
“A whole lot of us felt good about it and realized the importance of it,” Cleary said after practice at Joe Louis Arena Friday afternoon. “That’s how we’re going to be a successful team by getting some balanced scoring. It was good to get off the schneid, if that’s what they call it.”
Cleary had no points through the first nine games of the season.
“I think experience helps a lot with that when you go through a stretch like that you have to be able to have confidence in your ability and believe in yourself,” said Cleary, whose last goal came on March 19 last season. “But you don’t want to over-work either, which sometimes happens. You just keep skating as hard as you can, and your timing is off. You miss all of the pucks that are around, so you have to be patient and work hard when it’s time to work hard. Eventually it will pay off for you.”
Heading into Thursday’s game the bottom six forwards had combined for one point, an assist on the power play by Patrick Eaves while he was on the ice with Henrik Zetterberg.
“It takes some pressure off the other guys and we have to do it more often,” Cleary said. “That’s why we’ve been successful. We’ve had the scoring from different people, different lines and that’s important.”
In the 5-1 win over St. Louis, Cory Emmerton had a goal and an assist, Drew Miller had two assists, while Justin Abdelkader, Jordin Tootoo and Tomas Tatar each had one assist.
“We had real good effort from our bottom six,” Babcock said “They all played well and really contributed. They played hard. It’s a good thing for us.”