Justin Abdelkader

Petry says signing with Montreal is his first choice


“Personally, I’d love to see him back. I think he compliments our defense corps great and I think that, at his age, good defensemen like that are hard to come by.”

That quote comes courtesy Montreal’s P.K. Subban, speaking at Thursday’s end-of-year media availability about fellow blueliner Jeff Petry.

Petry, a pending UFA who came to Montreal at the trade deadline and showed very well, is thought to be at the top of Habs GM Marc Bergevin’s priority list this summer.

Turns out the Habs are high on Petry’s list, too.

Petry, 27, scored seven points in 19 regular-season games with the Habs while averaging 22:11 TOI per night, then continued that strong effort in the postseason with three points in 12 games, averaging 22:17.

It’s clear Montreal would like him back. D-men Sergei Gonchar and Mike Weaver are also UFAs — not expected to be re-signed — and while Bergevin needs to ink new deals for RFAs Alex Galchenyuk and Nathan Beaulieu, Petry could fit within Montreal’s current cap structure.

But it won’t be easy.

First, there’s a money issue — Petry made $3.075M last season and would likely see a significant raise on the open market. This year’s UFA d-man class isn’t especially deep, and it’d be hard for Petry to ignore the payday Matt Niskanen scored by going to market last summer (seven years, $40.25 million from Washington.)

Petry should also have a number of interested suitors. Chief among them would be the Detroit Red Wings, who have been on a seemingly endless search for a right-shot defenseman (Petry shoots right). What’s more, Petry is a Michigan native, a Michigan State Spartan alumni — where he was teammates with Justin Abdelkader — and the son of ex-MLB pitcher Dan Petry, who helped the Detroit Tigers win the 1984 World Series.

Video: Tomas Tatar tumbles onto Ben Bishop


The Tampa Bay Lightning struggled mightily without Ben Bishop in the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, so any time he gets bumped, there’s reason to worry.

He seems OK after Tomas Tatar fell on him in the first period of Game 5 between the Lightning and Detroit Red Wings:

It looks like Jason Garrison hit Tatar into Bishop. Either way, there was no penalty on the play, which didn’t exactly delight that Tampa Bay crowd.

Again, Bishop finished up the first period, so it looks like he’s OK … but players also are known to fight through pain in the postseason, so we’ll need to wait and see. Some will argue that Detroit’s crease-crashing really paid off late in the first period, as Justin Abdelkader screened Bishop on the 1-0 goal.

Red Wings’ Abdelkader says trip on Mrazek was a ‘dirty play’


Petr Mrazek provided another great performance for the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3, but teammate Justin Abdelkader still wasn’t happy about one moment in a 3-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

During one of the true turning points of the contest, Mrazek stopped Brian Boyle on a shorthanded breakaway. After that, he drew a tripping penalty on Cedric Paquette:

Apparently Abdelkader wasn’t happy with the actions of Paquette, a pot-stirring player for the Lightning. He deemed it a “dirty play,” as the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith reports.

In case you’re wondering, Abdelkader didn’t just respond via the press:

This series is one game behind Tuesday’s other three, but it seems like they’re making up for lost time by building up some bitterness.

Wings happy to be home, but know they have to be better


The bad news for the Detroit Red Wings is they’ve been pretty badly outplayed by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The good news is they’re back home for tonight’s Game 3, armed with a split in their first-round series with the favored Bolts.

“Anytime you start a series on the road, your goal is to try to get one,” forward Justin Abdelkader said, per NHL.com. “We did a good job of that. We didn’t play the way we wanted to play. At the same time, coming back home we can come out and get that first 10 minutes and start like they had in their building and get our crowd going and into it.”

The Wings were outshot by a combined margin of 76-38 in Games 1 and 2. Possession-wise, there hasn’t been a more uneven first-round series, with the Lightning having taken 56.2 percent of all shot attempts.

Abdelkader, by the way, will make his series debut tonight.

Abdelkader set to make series debut for Wings


The Detroit Red Wings are back at home, and returning a key piece of the lineup.

Justin Abdelkader, who missed the first two games of the playoffs with a hand injury, will draw back in for tomorrow’s Game 3 at the Joe when the Wings host the Lightning with the series tied 1-1.

Getting Abdelkader back will be a big boost for Detroit, especially after getting spanked 5-1 in Game 2. The 28-year-old scored a career-high 23 goals this season and averaged just under 18 minutes per night — 17:55, also a personal best — and, what’s more, has a wealth of playoff experience with 54 games on his resume.

Based on this morning’s skate, Abdelkader will play on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist, which allows Pavel Datsyuk to center a unit featuring Darren Helm and Tomas Tatar. Abdelkader was also in his familiar spot in front of the net on the power play, where he scored eight times this season.

It looks as though veteran Stephen Weiss will be dropped from the lineup to make room.