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Notes: Wings work on 3-on-3 in practice

Team looking to improve on 0-4 overtime record; Daley, Frk practice

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

DETROIT -- It doesn't happen frequently enough that you practice it on a daily basis but sometimes you do have to work on 3-on-3.

The Red Wings worked on 3-on-3 at the end of practice Monday after dropping their last two games in overtime, 2-1 at the New York Rangers and 4-3 at home to the New Jersey Devils.

The Wings have lost three of their last four games in overtime and are 0-4 overall in overtime.

"Today the practice was more to get used to the situation," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "When you get into those situations in the game it's good that you have been practicing on it. Most of the time 3-on-3 it's not doing a mistake or taking a bad shot, so the puck turns over to the other side. The ones we have lost have basically been odd-man rushes. There is a good chance if a goalie makes a save there is going to be an odd-man rush the other way. There is a little gambling but the safer you can play and wait for your chances, you'll have a bigger success rate."

One would expect that the main goal in overtime is to gain possession of the puck and keep it, yet the statistics have not always shown that to be the case.

"We've done lots of research on it," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "It's interesting that I think everybody's natural inclination is you want to win the face-off and put yourself in better position. That's not necessarily true from both scoring chances against and scoring. I found that interesting. It doesn't mean that we want to lose face-offs. It does show you the second chance lots of times is better than the first.

"We've emphasized a couple things - real smart changes, try to change and get the other team tired and you get fresh people out there; no wasted shots, so to your point, if it's not a real scoring chance, why waste it, try to create real scoring chances. Now it really seems in the league as we watch lots, you don't get a scoring chance until you give up a scoring chance. I don't know that we want to necessarily give them up on purpose but that's kind of the way it goes. You give up a scoring chance, you get a big save, you go back the other way."

Although the coaches can draw up plays for overtime, when there's only three players a side, the onus will eventually fall on them.

"I think there's times where we got to finish," Blashill said. "If you look back, you can't ask for better chances than we had in the Columbus game, we just didn't finish. The other night, we had a one-timer in the slot that we fanned on, a semi-breakaway that we didn't finish. You got to finish on your chances, too."

The Wings all agree that patience is a virtue in overtime, particularly when you have the puck. You don't necessarily have to shoot it because then it's often an easy chance in your end.

"You just don't want to give them opportunities that they don't have to earn," Justin Abdelkader said. "Obviously there's going to be 2-on-1s that happen, especially when you go to shoot a puck or you have a 2-on-1 yourself and the puck either gets rimmed out or goes out along the glass, sometimes you'll get 2-on-1s that way. You want to make sure that we're staying above pucks, it's man-on-man so you got to be above your guy and when we get chances, take them.

"But sometimes it's good to hang onto pucks at times and get the guys moving around a lot because I know when you're out here playing and you get stuck in your zone for a minute, minute and a half, it gets really hard and then that's when the breakdowns really start happening."

Maybe the key is just having Andreas Athanasiou and Gustav Nyquist together on the ice as the two hooked up in consecutive games last season, at home against the Minnesota Wild and on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes for back-to-back overtime winners with Athanasiou scoring both.

"Yeah, I definitely like the 3-on-3, I try not to really get beat back to the net and know that I will have an opportunity on the offensive end usually," Athanasiou said.

DALEY BETTER: Defenseman Trevor Daley, who left Friday night's game in New York at 12:10 of the first period and missed Saturday night's game, practiced with the team Monday.

"I just think I got myself in a bad situation, tweaked my neck a little bit," Daley said. "Taking precaution, making sure I got it all checked out, feeling pretty good, so I should be back here soon."

Daley appeared to be trying to avoid forward Paul Carey but ended up falling into him anyway after an awkward stop.

"He wasn't trying to hit me," Daley said. "I think I more fell into him than anything and just caught myself in a bad situation. It was nobody's fault other than my own."

Blashill had Daley skating with suspended Luke Witkowski in practice.

"He has not been cleared for tomorrow," Blashill said. "I would list Daley as of right now out for tomorrow."

Daley said he's been getting massages and spending a lot of time in the hot tub but hasn't ruled himself out quite yet.

"It's the neck, so you kind of want to be a little cautious with it," Daley said. "I think I'm good. I felt good out there today. X-rays were great. I think I'm ready to go."

FRK SKATES WITH TEAM: Martin Frk, who has missed the last six games with a groin injury, participated in part of practice with the team Monday before leaving the ice.

"That was planned," Blashill said. "He will not be in tomorrow either, but we didn't expect him necessarily, given where we were at going into practice today. He was going to do part of practice today, which he did. I haven't gotten a report. I would aim for Thursday or Saturday, which Saturday being the more likely scenario."

BOOTH EARNS ANOTHER GO: David Booth was skating in practice on a line with Zetterberg and Nyquist, just as he did for part of Saturday night.

Booth scored two of the Wings' three goals against the Devils and will be on that top line Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings.

"Yes, he earned it," Blashill said. "The two things we're going to have to do tomorrow is skate and compete, so the guys that want to skate and compete are going to play and the guys that don't skate and compete I just can't put out there because if you don't skate and compete against L.A. we're not winning. So, we got to take sure that we skate and we compete."

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