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Notes: Wings seek more time in offensive zone

Hronek, day-to-day, to miss Canadiens game; Daley ready to return

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT -- The Red Wings had their chances in Pittsburgh but only managed to bury one of them.

That has been a season-long trend for Detroit, which has just 13 goals in the 11 games since the All-Star break/bye.

They are currently last in the league in average goals for per game at 1.98.

The Los Angeles Kings, second to last, average 2.46 goals per game.

The top two teams in the league, the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning, are averaging 3.55 goals per game.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Jeff Blashill ahead of #MTLvsDET. pic.twitter.com/k2ZnduI585

"One is we want to make sure we support the puck, that we want the puck, that we're able to have the puck out of our zone through the neutral zone so that we can play in the offensive zone more," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said after the team's optional morning skate Tuesday. "We had a number of really, really good chances last game. But we didn't have lots of sustained O-zone time. So if we can get more sustained O-zone time, you're going to have a chance to score more of the dirty-type goals we have to.

"We have to get to the net a little more and try to score some of those dirty-type goals. We're not going to get better looks necessarily from our best players than we got last game. We had a number of looks with wide-open shots in the slot. If you get those every night, you're going to score for sure, but those are hard to come by every night, so let's make sure the nights we're not getting those, we're still scoring dirty-type goals."

Andreas Athanasiou, who had 30 goals in 76 games last season, has eight goals in 44 games this season.

"I think when times are like that, I think it's just overshooting the puck," Athanasiou said. "Not trying to get too fancy. It's been a little bit crazy. There hasn't been too many goals. I think we've had a lot of chances, they just haven't found the back of the net. I think at those points, you just have to work through it and kind of let your hard work take over and overshoot the puck."

The Red Wings are also last in shots per game at 27.4. The San Jose Sharks are second to last at 29.2.

Tuesday night's opponent, the Montreal Canadiens, average 34.3 shots per game, second in the league only to the Vegas Golden Knights at 34.5.

When the team as a whole is struggling to score, the problem becomes even more mental than physical.

"I would say that when things aren't going well, it definitely wears on guys a little bit harder than it usually does," Alex Biega said. "Guys aren't sleeping, guys are thinking about it a little bit too much going on a 2-on-1. But at the end of the day, we have to stay with the process. It's difficult to say that, just because of how inconsistent we've been and the struggles. So long as individually you stay with the process and team-wise, collectively stay within the process, usually things turn around.

"I think it's fair to say that we haven't had great puck luck this year or even recently but at the end of the day, you just have to have that firm belief that if you do the right things consistently enough, things will turn around and you'll get some good luck going forward."

ATHANASIOU ON TRADE RUMORS AND BOBBLEHEADS: With less than a week to go before the NHL trade deadline, some deals have already been made and others are no doubt in the works.

One name that keeps cropping up is Athanasiou.

"I don't really pay attention to it too much," Athanasiou said. "It happens with every team around the league and every year it happens. You never know what's going to happen. You just kind of block it out, don't really listen to it and just come ready to play hockey."

The Red Wings drafted Athanasiou in the fourth round, 110th overall, in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: AA Bobblehead Night! 💥 The first 10,000 fans at Little Caesars Arena for tonight���s game will receive one, courtesy of @stjoes_health! pic.twitter.com/3wzepX98iK

It didn't happen when he played junior hockey at London or Barrie, it didn't happen in the AHL in Grand Rapids but today is the day for Athanasiou as he gets his first bobblehead doll.

"No, first one," Athanasiou said, holding the bobblehead. "I'll definitely give them to friends and family. It's pretty cool. I think it's hilarious. I never really thought about it. I'd say it's pretty funny."

The first 10,000 fans at the game tonight against Montreal will get one.

How much does Athanasiou think his bobblehead resembles him?

"The eyebrows are a little thick. That's pretty accurate," Athanasiou said. "A little bit light but I'd say it's all right. It's pretty good."

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Athanasiou talks tonight's bobblehead, his return from injury and a matchup with the Canadiens.#MTLvsDET x #LGRW pic.twitter.com/ETg8bIWOYu

INJURY UPDATES: Defenseman Filip Hronek, who left Sunday's game in the second period after taking a shot off the side of his head, did not take part in the team's optional skate Tuesday.

Tweet from @DetroitRedWings: Boys are back in town. #MTLvsDET x #LGRW pic.twitter.com/HMA3r9Bca6

"Hronek's out tonight. Day to day," Blashill said.

Defenseman Trevor Daley, who left Saturday's game in Boston with an upper-body injury, did skate and said he's good to go against the Canadiens.

Although the team had Monday off, the skate was optional but there was good reason for that.

"We were scheduled to have a full skate but decided after consulting with our trainers that it was best to go optional so those couple guys that are feeling under the weather can at least save their energy for tonight," Blashill said.

STILL SPECIAL: Biega was born in Montreal so these games against the Canadiens always have a little more meaning for him.

"My dad reminds me every time we play them, 'you know, every time I used to take you to the Bell Centre when you were 6, 10 years old, you said, I'm going to do everything I can to play on this ice one day' and it's pretty special when you get to reflect on that, especially when I have kids for myself, bring them to the hockey games now, not to get emotional or sentimental, but sometimes it's nice to take a step back and reflect on that and see what you've accomplished," Biega said. "So it's definitely special playing these guys."

Biega has one assist in four career games against Montreal.

Anthony Mantha and goaltender Jonathan Bernier, expected to start tonight, are also both from the Montreal area.

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