Detroit’s had a rough go of things offensively so far in their series with the San Jose Sharks. Through two games they’ve got just two goals and while Antti Niemi’s great play in goal is part of that problem, the Wings could use a jump to all of their lines when Game 3 rolls around tomorrow night.
During practice today, coach Mike Babcock rolled out some new line combinations that very well may be the thing to help turn the Wings’ fortunes around. Babcock had Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg playing on separate lines and also had Kris Draper working with the regular lines after being a healthy scratch in the first two games of the series. Datsyuk centered Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom while Zetterberg centered Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary.
Those are two loaded forward lines and while Datsyuk and Zetterberg being split up is a big deal, Babcock tells Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press that all of the Wings lines need to be better.
“I want more out of our forwards,” Babcock said. “I want us to spend more time in the offensive zone and sustain pressure, and I think we can backcheck harder. We can be harder on 50-50 pucks, just all over. So that’s a challenge to all our forwards.”
Babcock then reiterated: “I haven’t decided who is playing with who for tomorrow as of yet.”
He hasn’t decided and while anything can happen, this is a pretty healthy indication that change is on the way for the Wings as they try to turn their fortunes around against the Sharks. Right now, they’ll need to find a way to break the Sharks’ pressure intensive brand of defense and get them moving around to open things up for their offense. San Jose is matching up very well with Detroit, but with the Wings getting the last change at home, we’ll see if they’re able to expose some weaknesses in what they’re able to do with potentially new lines.