October 27, 2009 at 10:37 pm

Chris McCosky

Wings coach Mike Babcock contemplates line changes

Red Wings center Valtteri Flippula has been working hard, but his line doesn't have very many goals to show for it. (David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

Vancouver, British Columbia

Times aren't completely desperate for the Red Wings, though after practice Monday coach Mike Babcock did call this 3-4-2 start the worst of his tenure.

"We've been through stretches in my time that hadn't been pretty," he said, "but when we've lost we usually didn't play hard. We've been playing hard and we've done a lot of really good things. We just haven't scored."

Thus, Babcock is mulling some changes. At practice he had Valtteri Filppula centered between Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary on the second line, moving Kris Draper back to the third line with Ville Leino and Jason Williams.

"I don't know what I am going to do yet and that's the truth," Babcock said. "This last while Fil's line has been good but we're not scoring enough goals. You have to score goals to win and we have to find a way to win.

"You know, sometimes when you are playing you think you are doing a lot of good things, but so what? You've got to get some points."

Babcock said he would sleep on it one more night and make the call on it this morning. But for all the chances it created, the Leino-Filppula-Williams line generated just 12 points and was a combined minus-11.

"That was the problem," Filppula said. "We had really good chances, really good opportunities and weren't able to score. I don't know why. If I knew we wouldn't be changing the lines. Hopefully, something new can generate some goals. That's the plan."

What has bothered Babcock more than anything was the team's inability to come up with the clinching or winning goal.

"The last three games, with the game on the line in the third period, we had a power play and we didn't score," he said. "Whether we executed well and got stopped by the goalie or whatever, it doesn't matter. When the game is on the line, sometimes you just have to bury it."

Williams remembered some advice he got years ago from Hall-of-Famer Luc Robitaille.

"When he was here, he always said, anytime you are struggling and can't score, always shoot for the 5-hole (between the goalie's legs)," he said. "You are always going to hit the net and you are going to make the goalie make a save. You never know when the goalie is going to trip or mess up.

"Just keep hitting the net and they will start to go in."

It's as good a plan as any.

Hello, Sammy

The Wings were looking forward to facing their old teammate Mikael Samuelsson .

"The last time I faced him was during the (NHL) lockout and we were in Sweden," Henrik Zetterberg said. "I won that one, so I am one-up on him. We will see how it goes."

Samuelsson, skating on the Canucks' first line, is off to a fast start with five goals and five assists in 11 games.

Tape to tape

... Defenseman Andreas Lilja has seen a specialist in Vancouver, though he wouldn't go into specifics about the treatment.

But, suffice to say, he's still not close to returning. The headaches persist.

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