DETROIT – By Mike Babcock’s math the Red Wings coughed up more than 20 scoring chances Thursday in a 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. And not wanting to see a repeat Saturday against Philadelphia, a change in the lineup was made on Friday.
“Did you watch us?” said Babcock, rhetorically. “That’s the thing about our business, if you don’t do good things you have to change things and that’s the bottom line.”
In an attempt to jump start the offense, the Red Wings sent veteran center Cory Emmerton to Grand Rapids and called up undrafted rookie and former University of Michigan standout Luke Glendening.
Glendening, a Grand Rapids, Mich., native, led all AHL rookies last spring in playoff points (16) during the Griffins’ march to the Calder Cup championship. He produced eight goals and 18 assists in 51 regular-season games with the Griffins. Babcock said he was impressed by Glendening in the exhibition season, particularly the finale in Toronto.
“He played against (Nazem) Kadri and I thought he played really well,” Babcock said. “He’s a right hand shot, ideally he’ll learn to win faceoffs at our level, he’ll learn to be a good penalty killer. He might end up having to play on the wing for us one day because we have (Joakim) Andersson and (Darren) Helm down the middle, but we’re going to give him an opportunity to help us.”
Glendening, 24, is expected to lpay in his first NHL game – centering the fourth line with forwards Drew Miller and Jordon Tootoo – when the Wings host the Flyers at Joe Louis Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tootoo will be making his season debut after recovering from a sprained left shoulder.
Emmerton has one assist and seven shots on goal in four games for the Wings. The 25-year-old center cleared waivers on Sept. 30, but stayed in Detroit when forward Patrick Eaves was placed on long-term injured reserve.
The offense has sputtered in the last two games, managing just three goals, while surrendering numerous scoring chances in consecutive losses to Boston and Phoenix.
“We felt we gave up 21 scoring chances in the game,” Babcock said. “In a normal game for us it’s between eight and 12. Don’t get me wrong, we had a ton of chances ourselves, an absolute ton. The power play got a chance in the third period, we couldn’t get it in their zone. The penalty kill, we got a chance, we had the puck, gave it to them and they shot it in the back of our net. Not good enough.”
Babcock shuffled the line combinations in Friday’s practice, though he could still change his mind, he said. Though the Pavel Datsyuk line has been productive, Justin Abdelkader was moved to the second line with center Stephen Weiss and forward Johan Franzen in hopes of generating more offense throughout the lineup. Todd Bertuzzi was moved up to the top line with Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Daniel Alfredsson was dropped to the third line where he worked with Andersson and forward Daniel Cleary.
Abdelkader wasn’t surprised by the line juggling.
“It can be good,” he said. “Hopefully we can get playing here, get everyone going. Sometimes it’s good to change things up.”
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