Daily Archives: December 5, 2013

Babcock wants to win games so he turns to Gustavsson, who is 7-0-1 this season

DETROIT — It’s all about winning games according to Wings coach Mike Babcock and therefore he’s turning to Jonas Gustavsson between the pipes Friday in New Jersey.

“Well, I mean we’ve got to win games and he’s doing that right now for us so the bottom line is he’s starting,” Babcock said. “We’re going to watch the game and he’s been real good for us.”

Gustavsson is 7-0-1 this season with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.

“He’s found a way to get hit by pucks and we’ve found a way to win now I don’t know if it’s cause we’ve relaxed more on the road or I don’t know the answer to those questions I just know we’re in the winning business, we need points,” Babcock said.

Howard allowed five goals on 33 shots on Wednesday as his record dipped to 6-8-6. His goals-against average ballooned to 2.70 and save percentage dipped to .909.

“I’m happy with all the starts I’m getting but I can’t relax and take it for granted,” Gustavsson said. “I’ve really got to fight for it. I’ve got to perform to keep getting those chances. I don’t think about anything else except playing as good as possible.”

It’s not the start that Howard wanted to get off to in the month of December after going 2-3-4 in November.

“I hope so,” Gustavsson said when asked if he’s pushing Howard. “That’s my goal, to try to push him and he’s definitely pushing me. I know I’ve got to play real well to even be considered playing in net. I’m just trying to do my part as any other guy on the team, trying to do as good as I can and try to push the other guys. It’s been working great so far.”

The injury bug has plagued Gustavsson his entire time in Detroit, mainly his groin.

Friday, Gustavsson will appear in his 10th game this season compared to playing in just seven a year ago.

“The more you play the more comfortable you’re going to get out there, but on the other hand, when you don’t play as much you’re always fresh coming into the game, too,” Gustavsson said.

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MRI reveals fluid on Helm’s shoulder; Bertuzzi returns; Babcock not sure on line combos

DETROIT – Darren Helm’s return to the Wings’ lineup has been going at quite a clip.

But now he’s back in a holding pattern.

Helm suffered a shoulder injury in Detroit’s 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers and will miss the next two games according to general manager Ken Holland.

An MRI showed fluid which means it’s either a sprain or strain according to Holland.

Helm will be re-evaluated Monday.

In just 15 games this season, Helm has seven goals and three assists.

Helm returned to the lineup on Nov. 2 after playing in just two games over the last 19 months, playing nearly 10 minutes.

He had missed 89 of the Wings’ last 91 games, last playing on Jan. 25.

To begin the season, Helm was sidelined with a back problem and then his groin became an issue.

The Wings will get Todd Bertuzzi back for Friday’s game at New Jersey, after missing the last six with an upper-body injury.

Bertuzzi practiced on a line with Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist Thursday.

“I’m not totally certain what I’m going to do with the lineup,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Obviously we got three centermen that are not available suddenly so that changes the dynamic of your team a little bit so we’ll figure it out. We’ve just got to get a lineup set so we can go in and find a way to win a game.”

Pavel Datsyuk (concussion) and Henrik Zetterberg (herniated disc) are also sidelined.

Datsyuk, who’ll miss his sixth straight game Friday, had his best practice since suffering a concussion on Nov. 23 after taking an elbow to his jaw from Ottawa defenseman Jared Cowen.

Holland said that Datsyuk would need a good week of practice before he could play.

“I haven’t talked to Pav since he skated, he skated in practice with us today there obviously that’s a good sign,” Babcock said. “I can see just by him dripping sweat there that obviously he worked here today so we’ll see when he’s ready.”

Babcock tabs Gustavsson to start Friday at New Jersey

DETROIT – Wings coach Mike Babcock didn’t hesitate when he was first asked about goalie Jimmy Howard.

“Gus is going (Friday),” Babcock shot back.

Howard allowed five goals on 33 in the Wings’ 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Jonas Gustavsson, who will start Friday in New Jersey, is 7-0-1 this season with a 2.15 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.

“I haven’t broke down the tape, so I’ve got no idea,” Babcock said when asked to assess Howard’s play. “I just know when you give up as many goals as we did, it’s not a good thing.”

Howard’s record dipped to 6-8-6, while his goal-against average ballooned to 2.70 and save percentage dipped to .909.

It’s not the start that Howard wanted to get off to in the month of December after going 2-3-4 in November.

Howard had a stretch last month going seven games without a win (0-3-4).

Flyers go 3-for-3 on PP, while Wings struggle with man advantage going 1-for-7

DETROIT – Life without Pavel Datsyuk hasn’t been that bad for the Detroit Red Wings to deal with.

Life without Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, their two leading scorers, so far is proven to be less than appealing.

The Wings squandered a two-goal lead midway through the second period, allowing five straight goals against in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, Wednesday night at Joe Louis Arena.

“Anytime you’re up 3-1 you want to win the game,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said.

The Flyers were 3-for-3 with the man advantage, while Detroit was just 1-for-7.

“Our penalty kill has been stellar for us all year long, we gave up some shots and they scored the goals,” Babcock said. “We had a chance on the power play ourselves and never got it done. In the end we had things going pretty good for ourselves through two and the third period wasn’t good enough, they were better than us. They’re better than us because they lite us up on the power play.”

Philadelphia, which improved to 2-18-2 at Joe Louis Arena over its last 22 games, got goals from six goals from five different players – Steve Downie, Matt Read, Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier (two) and Scott Hartnell – and a 32-save performance Steve Mason.

Tomas Tatar had a pair of goals for Detroit. Johan Franzen added the other goal and Jimmy Howard stopped 28 shots.
The loss snapped the Wings’ four-game winning streak.

All four wins in that stretch came without Datsyuk, who’s been sidelined while dealing with concussion-like symptoms.

Zetterberg missed his first game of the season and will be sidelined a minimum two weeks with a small herniated disc.

Wednesday was the first time Zetterberg and Datsyuk have been out of the lineup together since April 18, 2006, the final game of the regular season. Datsyuk sat with a knee injury and Zetterberg was held out to rest for the upcoming playoffs.

The Wings also lost that game, 6-3, to the Nashville Predators.

“We don’t have them,” Babcock said. “You can talk about it, no sense in us talking about it. We’ve got to win games, that’s all there is to it. There’s an opportunity for every one of these guys right here to lead, to grab the bigger piece and to grab their part. I thought Tatar was a factor so to me that means you get more. If you’re not a factor you get less. It’s real simple. So grab your piece when you get a chance. Those guys are good players and they’re going to come back and play. I guess the way I look at it is just play with confidence and just play.”

Tatar has three goals and three assists over his last six games.

Trailing 3-2 to start the third period, the Flyers, who had not scored more than three goals in the last 19 consecutive games at Joe Louis Arena, exploded for three goals in less than five minutes, two of which came on the power play to turn the table on their host.

Giroux evened the game for the Flyers just five minutes into the third period with their second power play goal in as many chances.

Couturier put Philadelphia ahead 4-3 redirecting in a shot from the point by Downie.

Hartnell ended the onslaught before the halfway point of the third period with a top shelf goal that made the Flyers 3-for-3 with the man advantage.

“I think the specialty teams was a battle we lost,” Niklas Kronwall said. “I thought 5-on-5 we were pretty solid defensively, but we didn’t generate much offense. We were 1-for-6 on the power play and our PK that was working was not good at all tonight.

“A new game is a new game,” Kronwall continued. “You have to stick with it and keep working to get to the next level all the time. We didn’t do enough good things tonight to win the game and it starts with specialty teams. We need to do a way better job on the power play. We had a lot of power plays in the second and we could not take advantage of it and they found a way on their PP to take advantage of their opportunities. We just have to find a way to get better.”

The Wings worked a nice set play at center ice that led to the goal from Franzen.

Gustav Nyquist took a feed out of the Wings’ zone at center ice, waited before dropping it to Stephen Weiss, who in turn found a streaking Franzen at the blue line and he rifled a slap shot by Mason.

Tatar picked up his second goal of the game on a 5-on-3 power play to put the Wings up 3-1. The winger corralled a loose puck after Mikael Samuelsson had two whacks at it down low, dragged it back before finding an open lane to shoot through and beat a sparling Mason.

Read took advantage of Detroit’s inability to clear the zone and slid a puck just under Howard’s left pad and over the goal line late in the second to get the Flyers back to within a goal.

The Wings had a great chance to blow the game wide open in the second period with nearly eight minutes of power play time, but could only manage just one goal, which came on the 5-on-3.

Great work by Joakim Andersson on the boards down low to keep the puck moving so Drew Miller could scoop it up and feed to a wide open Tatar, who one-timed his shot past Mason just past the midway point of the opening period.

Downie tied things up with a power play goal less than four minutes later for the Flyers, using a wise screen by Brayden Schenn to beat Howard with a wrist shot along the ice after taking a pass in the slot from Sean Couturier.