Red Wings head to Chicago down Abdelkader, Helm
Pittsburgh – The Detroit Red Wings were dealt a double-dose of bad news on Saturday. Forwards Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm suffered lower-body injuries in the 4-1 loss to Pittsburgh, and they will be unavailable Sunday when Detroit plays in Chicago.
The Red Wings recalled forward Dominic Turgeon from Grand Rapids.
Turgeon, 21, had 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 40 games with the Griffins this season, with a plus-8 rating.
Turgeon was a 2014 third-round selection of the Red Wings; he has yet to appear in an NHL game.
Abdelkader scored the Red Wings’ lone goal Saturday, his eighth, bettering his total of seven last season.
“That’s tough,” forward Frans Nielsen said. “If we’ll be without those guys, it’s going to be tough.”
Abdelkader and Helm are both penalty-killers. And with Luke Glendening (hand) also unavailable, that leaves the Red Wings lacking experience when shorthanded.
“They’re not only good players but we’d be missing three penalty-killers,” Nielsen said. “That’s really tough on us.”
Said captain Henrik Zetterberg: “They’re a big part of our group.”
Helm has formed a good chemistry with Nielsen as a PK duo, and his speed has helped forge one of the more dangerous attacks in the NHL.
Not worried about Frk
Coach Jeff Blashill though Martin Frk was going to be fine, coming off Sunday’s incident of Frk’s slapshot hitting Tampa Bay defenseman Dan Girardi around the neck area.
Girardi lay motionless on the ice for several moments, but eventually got up. His status is day-to-day.
“The biggest thing I’ve said to Marty is that shot is what has gotten you to the NHL,” Blashill said. “Make sure you stay in the NHL with that shot.”
Accuracy has always been an issue with Frk’s shot.
“We’ve been working with him lots for four years to make sure to hit the net,” Blashill said. “That puck (on Girardi’s shot) wasn’t going to hit the net. Let’s make sure we hit the net as much as possible. If it hits the net, that shot can create such chaos because it’s such a hard shot.
“It’s a big-time shot. He has to keep shooting it. I just think if he keeps hitting the (net), chaos will happen and good things will happen off that.”
Blashill said Frk should not overthink his shooting.
“Even if he takes a little bit off to control it, he’s a shooter, he can’t overthink it,” Blashill said. “He has to shoot and can’t get shy.”
Focus on speed
Saturday’s game was the 42nd on the Red Wings schedule – the start of the second half.
Blashill wants his players to focus on speed.
“What can separate us from other teams in the league is our speed,” Blashill said. “We have to use our speed to play to our identity and use our speed to create great pressure around the ice.”
Saturday’s game followed the league-mandated five-day break for the Red Wings.
A key for any team coming of a long break like that, said Blashill, is trying to maintain positive habits it had built.
“What you lose a little bit is your detail when you haven’t practiced,” Blashill said. “Some of your detail and habits. You have to make sure you zero-in on details. You don’t want to give up any easy chances because your detail isn’t as tight as it needs to be.”
Zetterberg said the timing of a team might be tested after a bye – but no one is complaining.
“We feel refreshed,” Zetterberg said. “Legs were good. A little bit of the hand-eye (coordination) was off but the brain was refreshed.
“We like the breaks.”
Red Wings at Blackhawks
Faceoff: 12:30 p.m. Sunday, United Center, Chicago
TV/radio: NBC / 97.1 FM
Outlook: The Blackhawks (22-16-6, 50 points) are clinging to the final wild-card playoff spot in the Western Conference. ... Chicago is 5-4-1 in its last 10 games. ... RW Patrick Kane continues to be an offensive force (18 goals, 27 assists, 45 points).