Wild-Red Wings Preview
Less than a week into the season, the Detroit Red Wings have already felt the effects from the retirements of two of the franchise's most successful players.
Thin on defensemen and scoreless on the power play, the Red Wings look to bounce back from their latest defeat by trying to continue their home success against the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
Tomas Holmstrom played all 15 of his NHL seasons in Detroit, and along with seven-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom was a staple on the Red Wings' power-play unit. Lidstrom often helped set up Holmstrom, who positioned himself in front of the net to score 141 of his 289 career goals - including the playoffs - on the man advantage. All but one of Holmstrom's 11 goals last season came on the power-play.
Without the two retired stars, Detroit (1-2-0) is to 0 for 15 on the power play after failing on four chances in Tuesday's 2-1 home-opening defeat to Dallas.
"I thought the power play was terrible," coach Mike Babcock told the NHL's official website. "We pass it around and pass it around and pass it around. If you don't shoot it and get it back and crash the net. When we had Nick and Homer, one got in front of the net and one shot the puck every time."
Johan Franzen scored 11 of his team-leading 29 goals on the power play in 2011-12, but is still searching for his first goal overall. The Red Wings recorded 40 shots but didn't score until there were 3.4 seconds left Tuesday.
Outscored 11-5 this season, Detroit also misses Lidstrom's presence within a defensive corps that's been plagued by injuries.
Already without Carlo Colaiacovo for approximately a month with a shoulder injury, Ian White will miss at least two weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a deep leg laceration suffered Tuesday. The Red Wings hope Jonathan Ericsson (hip) can return from his two-game absence and Jakub Kindl (lower-body) will make his season debut Friday.
Detroit has outscored Minnesota 48-22 during a 9-0-3 home stretch that dates to December 2006. Jimmy Howard has yielded 10 goals on 93 shots this season but is 4-0-2 with a 1.81 goals-against average at home versus Minnesota
The Wild (2-1-0) seem like they're in position to take advantage of Detroit's makeshift defensive lineup in their first road contest, but offense has been hard to come by despite solid starts from Dany Heatley and Zach Parise.
Minnesota recorded a league-low 177 goals last season and has been held to a goal apiece in its last two games after opening with a 4-2 win.
Heatley scored his third on Parise's third assist in Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Nashville. The Wild recorded 12 of their 30 shots in the first period and went 0 for 3 on the power play for the second straight game after a 2-for-7 performance in the opener.
"It's a matter of just executing and finishing the play," said Parise, who has one goal on 17 shots. "Collectively we need to bear down a little bit and put those in.''
Despite Heatley's hot start, he's been held to two goals with three assists in his last 11 regular season and playoff games versus Detroit.