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.
Alex Burrows doesn’t want a trade out of Vancouver and he wants to make sure everyone knows it.
On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman reported that Burrows was potentially willing to waive his no-trade clause if a deal came up.
When asked about the report, Burrows went into denial mode.
“There’s no truth to that,” Burrows told beat reporter Ben Kuzma. “I’ve never talked to management or coaches about it.
“Last time I talked to my agent was to wish him Merry Christmas.”
Whether or not Burrows is willing to accept a deal out of Vancouver may be irrelevant.
The 34-year-old has seven goals and 16 points in 53 games this season, and he comes with a cap hit of $4.5 million dollars next season.
That’s pretty steep for a guy who’s on pace to score just 25 points this year.
If the Canucks want to find a taker for his services (assuming he’s willing to go), they’ll likely have to take a good-sized contract back or they’ll have to eat some of his remaining salary.
It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.
Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.
(You can see that goal in the video above.)
Watch that three-goal burst in this video:
The two teams weren’t done then. Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 while Pavel Datsyuk scored his 900th point to make it 3-2.
Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.
When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.
Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.
It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.
This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.
That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.
Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP
So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.
The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.
The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.
It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.
You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE