For the second time this season, the Red Wings lost a defenseman during a game at Columbus’s Nationwide Arena when Brendan Smith suffered a shoulder injury in a first-period collision Saturday.
Having played Friday at home, the Wings were already at a disadvantage against the Blue Jackets who had Friday off. But with Smith’s injury, the Wings were forced to play the final two periods with only five defensemen, including Jakub Kindl, who skated six-minutes more than his 16 ½ minute average.
Smith logged 3:13 of ice-time before he left the game and did not return. He was injured while moving the puck out of the Red Wings’ zone when he was slammed along the boards by Jackets center Derek MacKenzie.
“That was a loss for us,” coach Mike Babcock said. “Smitty’s a competitive kid. He moves the puck and he competes ultra-hard. We’re already on fumes a bit and now losing him, so we don’t know how long he’ll be out, but obviously it’s a blow to us.”
The Red Wings have had a slew of injuries to defensemen with Carlo Colaiacovo, Jonathan Ericsson, Ian White and Kindl all missing action already in the first month of a compressed 48-game season. Smith is the second defensemen injured at Columbus this season. Colaiacovo suffered a left shoulder injury against the Blue Jackets on Jan. 21.
White said on Friday that he hopes to be ready to return Tuesday when the Wings host the Calgary Flames. If not, rookie Brian Lashoff, who has performed admirably in four relief appearances, will be ready to go.
In all, the Red Wings’ defensemen have lost 18 man games to injuries through the first eight games of the season.
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