DETROIT >> Quick update from Wings practice Monday at Joe Louis Arena.
Justin Abdelkader was the only player missing from practice. He injured his left shoulder in the second period of Detroit’s 5-3 win over Vancouver Sunday.
He’s out for Tuesday’s home game against the Florida Panthers and most likely out the rest of the week.
“He penalty kills, blocks shots, he plays hard on offense,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He understands you score goals by being at the net so he goes to the net. He’s an important player for us. He’s a guy that works hard every day in my opinion. He brings most every day, skates good, gets in on the forecheck so we need guys like that.”
The Wings take a season-high four-game winning streak against the Panthers.
“We’re scoring them in bunches, which I don’t think we normally do,” Brendan Smith said. “So when we do that, I think we’re pretty sound defensively. Once we put pucks in the net, we’re winning games. Other that and our power play scoring, we’re just playing well. Our leaders are playing well and we’re just following that so I think that’s why we’ve had this streak.”
Heading into play Monday Detroit was a point behind Tampa Bay and Montreal for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.
“You’re always trying to get better,” Babcock said. “The object is to win the games and that’s what we’re doing. We want to be better defensively and offensively and way harder on both ends in front of both nets. We got a bunch of young guys that have a lot of growth opportunity in front of them if they really embrace it and work every day. That’s that challenge for us as a coaching staff and them as players.”