Author: Jason Brough

Pavel Datsyuk, Kevan Miller, Tuukka Rask

Wings have improved in possession; now they just need to hit the net

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The return of Pavel Datsyuk has, predictably, led to a better Corsi rating for the Detroit Red Wings.

On Friday, the Wings dominated the Sharks in terms of possession, but fell 3-2 on the scoreboard. They had a little tougher time the next day in Boston, but overall played the Bruins reasonably close in a 3-1 loss.

What the Wings didn’t do very well against the B’s was hit the net. As a result, they were outshot, 31-21.

“The biggest thing here, especially in the last game, is we have to hit the net more,” coach Jeff Blashill told “We had 18 missed nets and that’s not counting blocks. If you turn half of those into shots, you’ve got 32 shots.”

In contrast, the Bruins only missed the net seven times.

The Red Wings will get a good chance to pad their shots stats tonight in Ottawa. The Senators have surrendered an NHL-high 34.6 shots per game.

As far as the top two lines go, Datysuk will center Dylan Larkin and Tomas Tatar, while Henrik Zetterberg will skate between Justin Abdelkader and Gustav Nyquist.

Sharks give Zubrus a tryout

Dainius Zubrus, Nick Holden

Dainius Zubrus has joined the San Jose Sharks on a tryout basis, has learned.

Zubrus, 37, is an unrestricted free agent. He had a tryout with the Blues last month, but was later released. He played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.

So, does he have a chance to stick with San Jose?

Well, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer coached Zubrus in New Jersey, so there’s familiarity there. And San Jose’s bottom six has not produced this season, so it’s not like the competition is too stiff.

We’d say he’s got a decent opportunity.

The Sharks play the Bruins in Boston tomorrow.

Goalie nods: After Nashville debacle, Jets go back to Hutchinson

Michael Hutchinson

Michael Hutchinson got the hook after just 12 minutes of Saturday’s 7-0 loss in Nashville. The 25-year-old allowed three goals on seven shots, before Ondrej Pavelec surrendered four more on 27 shots.

Hutchinson will start again tonight in St. Louis, where the Jets will try to halt a five-game winless streak — one in which they’re allowed 23 goals total.

That Hutchinson is being given another opportunity tells you all you need to know about Ondrej Pavelec’s play of late. After a decent October, Pavelec has registered an .875 save percentage in November.

Together, Hutchinson and Pavelec have given up 16 goals in their last three games. And while coach Paul Maurice isn’t hanging everything on his netminders, he’s certainly hanging some of it on them.

“When we’re God-awful in front of him, there’s always the chance, right, that (the goalie) can always keep the game tied,” Maurice said, per the Winnipeg Sun. “Everybody has got to pitch in.”

Jake Allen will start for the Blues.


Anders Lindback for the Coyotes. Jaraslav Halak for the Islanders.

— Anton Khudobin for the Ducks. Eddie Lack for the Hurricanes.

— Jacob Markstrom for the Canucks. Mike Condon for the Canadiens.

Jimmy Howard for the Red Wings. Craig Anderson for the Senators.

— Andrei Vasilevskiy for the Lightning. Roberto Luongo for the Panthers.

Ritchie to make NHL debut for Ducks

Simon Kindschi Nick Ritchie

Anaheim’s Nick Ritchie will make his NHL debut tonight in Carolina, and the 19-year-old will do it on a line with Ryan Kesler and Chris Stewart.

So much for easing the rookie into The Show. That’s the second line.

“He’s a big guy and we want to see what he can do,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau told the club’s website. “If you bring up your prized rookie from the minors, you don’t want to play him six minutes. You want to see if he can play. He’s done a great job in the AHL, so we’re giving him the opportunity here.”

The 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft, Ritchie has nine goals in 12 games for AHL San Diego. He was called up Saturday, along with center Michael Sgarbossa.

The Ducks desperately need some more offense. They’ve scored an NHL-low 28 goals in 17 games.

Related: Nick Ritchie is looking to make the leap

Penguins insist they’re not ‘mad at each other’

Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Anders Nilsson

The Pittsburgh Penguins did some clarifying today.

Or maybe it was damage control.

Regardless, they insist they’re not “mad at each other,” as Evgeni Malkin expressed Saturday after a 4-0 loss to New Jersey.

“It’s a little bit not what I want to say,” Malkin said, per’s Wes Crosby. “It’s not mad at each other. … It’s just the game. We don’t like how we play.”

Sidney Crosby added that he spoke to Malkin and believes his teammate was misunderstood.

“He did not mean we are mad at each other,” said Crosby. “He meant we are frustrated.”

Understandable. The Penguins have lost three of their last four. Though they’re 10-7-0 on the season, if not for the play of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, their record would undoubtedly look worse. Offensively — the supposed strength of the roster — it has been a serious struggle.

Pittsburgh plays its next four games at home, starting tomorrow versus Minnesota.

And the Penguins would be wise to find their form soon, because in December the schedule turns tough, with eight games out of 14 on the road.