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Notebook: Helm does job offensively

by Michelle Crechiolo / Detroit Red Wings
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DETROIT – Friday morning Wings coach Mike Babcock talked about Darren Helm’s role on the team.

Babcock said that while Helm was doing a fantastic job bringing energy and solid penalty killing, he wasn’t a player they relied on offensively.

But in Friday’s 4-2 home win over Nashville, Helm’s hard work was rewarded with two goals, breaking his 19-game scoreless drought and bringing his season total to 10.

Helm went to work and recorded both within a five-minute span in the second period. It was his first two-goal game in his NHL career.

“Scoring and getting points isn’t a huge thought in my mind, it’s just competing every night,” Helm said. “But whenever I can score, it’s definitely really nice. To be able to reach 10 this year so far, I think it’s an accomplishment. There’s still lots of games left, and there will be other opportunities for me to score more goals, and just keep grinding away. Hopefully I’ll find the back of the net a few more times.”

One of Helm’s goals came while the Wings killed off a penalty. He is ranked among the league’s leaders in shorthanded goals with three, with only three players scoring more. 

“I don’t score too many goals, I’m not picky,” he said. “Shorthanded, it’s always a little bit nicer.”

Babcock called Helm, “probably our best player from start to finish.”

Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom talked about how Helm lifts the whole team when he scores, “especially how hard he works, using his speed to his advantage, it was great to see.

“He doesn’t let up on plays, he shot the puck and he kept going at the net, lifted the guy’s stick and got the puck. He got rewarded (Friday) and that’s great to see.”

MAKING GOOD ON PROMISES: After their embarrassing 6-3 loss to Vancouver on Wednesday after a 3-2 win at Colorado on Monday, the Wings vowed to be more consistent.

Friday, they made good on that promise, with every Wings player stepping up.

“We knew we had to turn that around and make sure we didn’t make the same mistake twice, especially two in a row,” Helm said. “These are extremely important games for us now, coming out flat like we did in Vancouver is unacceptable and (Friday) was a lot better effort by everyone.”

Friday’s win keeps the Wings in the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot, and moved them to within three points of the Predators.

FACING CHICAGO: While Babcock acknowledged his team’s stellar play on Friday, he is already looking ahead to Sunday’s marquee game against the Blackhawks at Chicago’s United Center.

“A good win for us, and now we can get ready for Chicago,” he said.

The 12:30 p.m. EST game will be televised nationally on NBC’s “Game of the Week,” and will be the fifth of six meetings between the Original Six rivals.

In their last match-up, the Wings fell to the Blackhawks in a 4-3 shootout loss at Joe Louis Arena on Jan. 17.

Sunday will mark the first time forward Johan Franzen will be in the lineup against Chicago since he tore his ACL in a game against them back in October.

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