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Looking to power up

by Dana Wakiji / Detroit Red Wings
When the Wings welcome the Vancouver Canucks Friday night, it will be the Canucks' third game in four nights. (Photo by Getty Images)

DETROIT -- The Wings' power play has been consistently inconsistent so far this season.

Ranked 19th overall, the Wings' power play is fourth on the road at 24.3 percent but just 27th at home at 14.5 percent.

"Maybe we have to get that shooting mentality on the power play, over-shoot the puck too," said Tomas Tatar, who has five power play goals among his 11. "When we couldn't score at the start of the year, we tried to play a little more simple, we tried to put pucks on the net and we start scoring more goals. Now we have to do the same thing on the power play. To be honest, I didn't know the stats were like this so maybe we should check how we scored those goals on the road."

When the lower percentage is at home, the temptation is always there to say that the Wings are being a little too fancy with the puck or worrying about getting the best shot rather than just shooting.

"I don’t see that necessarily, it’s a little bit circumstance," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I think the biggest thing with our power play is to continue to focus on delivering the puck to the net and getting more chaos around the net and get people around the net. That’s been a refocus now for two weeks. I think we’re going to have to continue to do that."

Gustav Nyquist also has five power play goals in his 11 scored but believes the team should have more.

"We were one of the top power plays last year and haven’t really gotten up to those stats this year," Nyquist said. "Some games have been pretty awful where we can’t get things set up or get things going, but I think a lot of games we’ve had actually pretty good chances, it’s just a matter of burying those chances. I think we’ve left some chances unfinished for sure. We’re working on a lot and taking steps in the right direction. Hopefully it’ll get better at home."

QUINCEY PRACTICES WITH TEAM: Kyle Quincey, who underwent surgery on his right ankle on Nov. 14, has been skating for a while but kicked it up a notch Thursday.

Quincey practiced with the Wings for the first time.

"It feels like I’m back in the fold and just seeing your name on the roster for practice was exciting," Quincey said. "The stamina is not where it was when I left but it’s going to come back. Just feeling the puck, making passes, I felt real good to be out there again."

Quincey skated during the team's optional on-ice practice Wednesday and Blashill said assistant coach Tony Granato thought he looked good enough to work with the team Thursday.

"It was his job to kind of monitor what he could and couldn’t do," Blashill said. "I think we got to be careful not to push him too hard. That’s something him and I will talk about. But I know he’s eager to get back going."

Although it has not even been five weeks since the surgery, Quincey said he wasn't focused on his ankle during practice.

"I’m not really thinking about it, but it’s in the back of your head," Quincey said. "They didn’t want me competing today but I think I did all the drills. I might get in trouble here a little bit."

The original estimate for Quincey's return was 8-12 weeks.

Quincey said he does not have any doctor's visit scheduled, nor has he asked the Wings about a possible return yet.

"If things keep going well … it’s up to them when they put me in," Quincey said. "Just right now focus on getting good workouts on the ice every day."

Quincey said he expected to travel with the team after Christmas so he can continue practicing.

CARD SHARK: In the Wings' charity poker tournament at the Motor City Casino Wednesday night, Nyquist lasted longer than any of his teammates.

"I guess that’s a positive," Nyquist said. "I got a little lucky. We had a good time. I’m not a very good poker player, nothing I’ll go around bragging about."

Brendan Smith and Danny DeKeyser were second and third, respectively.

"I can see Smitty being pretty competitive about it," Nyquist said. "I heard he was telling people he was best on the team. You’ll have to ask him."

Nyquist said he has played against DeKeyser before.

"DK, I would say he’s extremely hard to read at the poker table," Nyquist said. "He would probably be one of the hardest people to read."

VANCOUVER ON FRIDAY: When the Vancouver Canucks arrive in Detroit, they're likely to be a bit weary.

Friday's game will be the Canucks' third in four nights. They play in Philadelphia tonight.

"It's not really try to focus on it but obviously it's a little on your mind you have to jump as soon as the puck drops," Tatar said. "You know how you feel when you go back-to-back, it's not easy, especially the first five minutes, to get the body going, but that's what we should use against them and just play whole game."

Nyquist said the Wings have to remain focused on what they need to do.

"Our last two games haven’t been our best games," Nyquist said. "We need to take a step in the right direction again and get on the same track where we were playing good there. We’ve had a little longer break than usual so we’ve kind of had time to talk about things that we can get better at and work on and hopefully we can show that tomorrow."

The Canucks still have the Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, taken second and third overall in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft.

"They probably have the best chemistry I’ve ever seen on the ice," Nyquist said. "It seems like they know exactly where they are at all points during the game, especially in the O-zone they find each other with those behind the back passes all the time. It’s pretty amazing to see how well they play and how well they play together. They’ve been real good in this league for a real long time and they mean a lot for Swedish hockey too."

That was the same draft in which the Wings got captain Henrik Zetterberg in the seventh round, 210th overall.

TATAR OK: Tatar missed the charity poker event due to illness but practiced with the team Thursday and expects to play Friday.

"I feel better," Tatar said. "I just had a little fever, was day-to-day. No hurt parts, nothing injured or anything. Just feeling a little under the weather."

Tatar is tied with Nyquist and Dylan Larkin for the team lead in goals with 11.

FRIDAY'S GOALIE: Blashill said that Jimmy Howard would start Friday against the Vancouver Canucks.

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