Wings work to sharpen aim in shootouts

DETROIT – Bringing in the shootout to decide games was something the Detroit Red Wings voted against.

Looking at their numbers of late in the skills competition it’s easy to see why.

The Wings have lost their last three games in shootouts and are 0-4 on the season. They’ve lost nine in a row dating back to last season.

“We’ve done a shootout for I don’t know how many days,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “The elephant in the room is we haven’t scored in the shootout. I mean, your goalie is standing at the end and we don’t (score so) they have to go (scoreless). We have to score some goals for the goalie.”

Detroit has scored just one goal in 12 shootout attempts (8.3 percent) this season, while opponents have scored on five of 10 shots.

“I think it’s just the way things have been going now with the last little bit and a lot of games going to OT and the shootout, maybe the confidence isn’t there,” Niklas Kronwall said. “But I think that’s something that we’re beginning to work on in practice now and I think that helps. Believing in yourself and sticking to what you’ve been doing and eventually it’s going to work out and it’s going to be good in the long run.”

Daniel Alfredsson has the lone shootout goal this season. Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi are both 0-for-4, while Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen have missed on their only attempts.

For their careers, Datsyuk is 33 for 76 (43.4 percent), and Bertuzzi is 16 for 47 (34 percent) in shootouts.

The Wings and Predators took part in an 11-round shootout in 2010, with Kronwall scoring the game winner.

“I mean if you’re looking at a D-man shooting I think you’re looking at 11 rounds again,” Kronwall smiled. “Whoever the coach feels comfortable with (but) given the chance, and I’m sure any of the D-men would love getting a chance, you also realize that there are a few guys ahead of you.”

Jimmy Howard stopped 10 of Nashville’s 11 shootout attempts.

Defenseman Brendan Smith was one of the top three shooters in the shootout in Grand Rapids.

“I’ve always been a pretty good shooter, but obviously we’ve got way better shooters on our team from world-class players,” Smith said. “But the puck just isn’t going into the back of the net.

“If you look at the percentage of some of the players that have been shooting they’re all in the 40s, 50s and 60s,” Smith continued. “Unfortunately, they’re just not going in. It’s something that we haven’t worked on in the last couple of years because it comes so natural for some of our players, but the game has adapted, goalies are getting better with recognizing players, so just going out there at the end of practice and doing that is good for everybody.”

The Wings went 9-3 in shootouts in the 2011-12 season and were 2-5 last year.

They’re 38-45 all-time in shootouts.


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