At the Rink blog

Blues-Red Wings projected lines

Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 12:11 PM

By Staff -  / At the Rink blog

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At the Rink blog
Blues-Red Wings projected lines

DETROIT -- Following a 3-2 loss on the road in Chicago on Friday
night, Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock quickly ran through some
of the positives.

The penalty kill was great, stonewalling the Chicago Blackhawks on all
five of their power plays. The bottom two lines played well in his
estimation, including third-line center Justin Abdelkader -- who
scored the game's first goal while filling in for injured Darren Helm
(groin). The Wings' "baby" line of all rookies -- Gustav Nyquist, Cory
Emmerton and Joakim Andersson -- was also one of the few Detroit
bright spots, skating with the speedy Hawks.

Still, it's what went left unsaid -- but was strongly implied -- that
mattered most to the Wings heading into another Central Division
showdown Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena against the gritty St. Louis
Blues. Babcock didn't praise the work of his top two lines and
basically said they have to be better than they were at the United

"The bottom line is we weren’t good enough," Babcock said. "We got
out-played, any way you look at it. That’s not good enough. The whole
game was fine, but to me we just didn’t have enough play in their
zone. I thought the kids that we gave an opportunity to (were good).
We just needed more."

Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen didn't record a point between them on
the top line, while the second line of Valtteri Filppula, Henrik
Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler each went without a point and finished with
a minus-2 rating.

No doubt, the effort will have to be better Saturday night against
the Blues, who dropped a tough 2-1 game in a shootout Friday night
at Scottrade Center to the Nashville Predators. The Blues, who lost in
Detroit on Tuesday after coughing up a two-goal lead, come into the
Motor City with a bad taste in their mouth after the five-round
shootout -- which spoiled a great performance in net by Jaroslav

The Blues haven't won a shootout since March 7, 2011 and those woes
are starting to frustrate them.

"Five rounds, you expect to get at least one in," St. Louis center
David Backes said. "We don't do that. Jaro really deserved the win.
Jaro kept us in there long enough, but obviously it's an area you'd
like to get better at. If we're not going to win (the shootout), we
might as well win them in regulation or put one in in overtime and
skip that whole formality."

Here's a look at how the Blues and Red Wings may line up for their New
Year's Eve showdown at Joe Louis Arena:

David Perron-David Backes-T.J. Oshie
Vladimir Sobotka-Patrik Berglund-Chris Stewart
Evgeny Grachev-Jason Arnott-Matt D'Agostini
Jamie Langenbrunner-Scott Nichol-B.J. Crombeen

Carlo Colaiacovo-Alex Pietrangelo
Barret Jackman-Roman Polak
Ian Cole-Kevin Shattenkirk

Joey Elliott
Jaroslav Halak


Johan Franzen-Pavel Datsyuk-Todd Bertuzzi
Valtteri Filppula-Henrik Zetterberg-Jiri Hudler
Drew Miller-Justin Abdelkader-Danny Cleary
Gustav Nyquist-Cory Emmerton-Joakim Andersson

Nicklas Lidstrom-Ian White
Niklas Kronwall-Brad Stuart
Jonathan Ericsson-Mike Commodore

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin
Quote of the Day

For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.

— Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau on clinching a playoff berth after a win against the Islanders on Saturday
AMP No Bull Moment of the Week