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Notes: Wings need more scoring, especially against Leafs

Svechnikov enjoys seeing his family in Toronto

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

TORONTO -- Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock summed up the Red Wings' situation succinctly Saturday morning.

"They're not scoring or haven't scored," Babcock said. "They're playing real well defensively and competing hard. I think they've done a good job. To me, you got to generate some offense. They haven't scored so that makes it harder for them."

The Wings have 189 goals compared to the Leafs' 251.

In the last game, the Washington Capitals had one real Grade A chance when they had a 2-on-0 with Brett Connolly and Jakub Vrana and they scored on it, which was enough to win the game, 1-0.

"The games have been there for us to win," defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. "A lot of times, we don't seem to get those easy goals as we're giving up for the other team. That's the biggest difference, I think. The compete level's been there all the time. We're just gonna continue working hard and try and win as many games as possible."

The problem is even more drastic in those one-goal games like Thursday's.

Overall, the Wings are 10-12-11 compared to the Leafs' 22-4-7 record in one-goal games.

"I think if you've been around our team like some people in this gathering have been they'd tell you we've had lots of games like the other night, where you could argue maybe we deserved a little better fate," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said.

"We've been extremely close. We got to find a way to turn those close losses into close wins over the course of the next however many games, that's the biggest thing. I thought the other night, structurally, defensively we were great. We got to continue to find ways to score. Certainly, one of those areas is the power play. Our power play wasn't good enough the other night."

Only the Ottawa Senators have more losses in one-goal games with 24.

"I think just putting more pucks on net, putting more traffic in front of goalies' eyes," Anthony Mantha said. "It's just those two little details that brings more scoring chances. Any shot could end up going in, or as a good rebound around the net and if we have traffic there, being first on puck around their net, anything could go in."

Having a more effective power play would certainly help.

The Wings' power play is currently 23rd in the league at 17.3 percent compared to the Leafs' third-ranked power play at 23.8 percent.

In Detroit's first 26 games, it had 19 power-play goals.

In Detroit's last 48 games, it has just 18 power-play goals.

Defenseman Trevor Daley has rejoined the second power-play unit with Martin Frk, Dylan Larkin, Frans Nielsen and Mantha now that Mike Green is out for the remainder of the season.

"With me, I'm just going to try to keep it as simple as possible," Daley said. "I'm not going to do anything I'm not used to doing. I try to keep things pretty simple. Simplify and try to get as many pucks to the net and try to get some ugly ones."

LEAFS A TOUGH CHALLENGE: The Maple Leafs are currently third in the Atlantic Division with 95 points in 74 games.

They are seven points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers, who occupy the first wild-card spot, and 11 points ahead of the New Jersey Devils, who are in the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference.

"They're a tough match-up, when they've got their full lineup," Blashill said. "Now you throw the fourth line in. I'm sure (Babcock) has confidence they can play against anybody from what we saw against Nashville, and you got some real dynamic players down there, too. It's going to be a four-line game.

"I can't over-worry about match-ups because every line is it's own unique challenge. We'll try, especially on the D side, to get the guys out there we think are the right match. But from the forward side I'm not going to fight it because I think they all have their own unique challenges."

Tweet from @Dwakiji: #RedWings morning skate:Bertuzzi-Zetterberg-Nyquist Mantha-Larkin-Helm Athanasiou-Nielsen-Abdelkader Frk/Booth-Glendening-Svechnikov Ericsson-Daley DeKeyser-JensenKronwall-Witkowski Ouellet extra

The Leafs have five players with at least 20 goals: James van Riemsdyk (34), Auston Matthews (29), Nazem Kadri (28), Patrick Marleau (23) and Mitch Marner (20).

"(They present) a lot of challenges," Daley said. "They got a lot of speed. We got to do our best to take away time and space from them, try not to let them get comfortable out there, try to make it as discomfortable as possible. When they do get their chances, try to limit those Grade A chances."

Only Mantha with 23 has topped the 20-goal milestone for the Wings this season. Gustav Nyquist is second with 19.

Toronto has won 12 straight games at home and has a 25-8-2 record there.

SVECHNIKOV REUNION: Rookie Evgeny Svechnikov was in an especially good mood Saturday morning as he got a chance to spend time with his mom, Elena, and younger brother, Andrei, the night before.

"It's a good feeling, seeing my mom and my brother last night," Svechnikov said. "They came for dinner. We went to CN Tower. It was nice dinner. It was a great atmosphere. I haven't seen my brother since the summer, so I was very happy. He's bigger than me, so it was exciting to see."

Andrei Svechnikov, who turns 18 in two days, plays for the OHL's Barrie Colts and is listed at 6-foot-3, 184 pounds.

Evgeny Svechnikov, 21, is 6-foot-3, 212 pounds.

"He's bigger in the shoulders and a little bit taller," Svechnikov said. "It's impressive. I'm really happy with what's he got for the future."

That future includes the upcoming NHL Entry Draft in Dallas this June, where the younger Svechnikov is expected to go in the top five picks.

"I think he's very calm and he's very mature," Svechnikov said. "He looks up to me, obviously and can learn a lot from my ways. I'm telling him a lot of stuff but you know, I think he's very confident. He knows what he can do. I'm giving him a lot of confidence. It's going to be a big step for him next year. I'm very excited for him."

In 44 games with Barrie, Andrei Svechnikov has 40 goals, 32 assists and is plus-26.

"I'm telling him it's a huge difference between junior and professional. Especially NHL," Svechnikov said. "It's going to be different. Everybody is faster and stronger, way smarter. I'm going to talk to him way more this summer and hopefully teach him more and more. But he watches every game. He sees every game and he learns as much as he can."

Both brothers have said that they would love to play together in the NHL.

For now, Evgeny Svechnikov just wants to impress his family when he plays against the Leafs for the first time Saturday.

"For sure, I hope so to have a great night for my mom and brother," he said.

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