December 22, 2009 at 10:32 am

Dana Wakiji

Injuries leave Red Wings searching for anyone to step up and score

Tomas Holmstrom (96), battling for position against Stars defender Stephane Robidas, leads the Wings with seven power-play goals. (Tim Sharp/Associated Press)

It's not like the Red Wings don't want to score on the power play.

It's just not happening.

After going 0-for-2 on Sunday in Chicago, Detroit is 5-for-53 the last 15 games. The last power-play goal for the Red Wings came Dec. 11 against the Ducks.

It didn't help Sunday, though, that the Blackhawks entered the game No. 1 at home in penalty kill and No. 2 in the NHL overall.

It also didn't help the Wings are missing Johan Franzen, Jason Williams, Valtteri Filppula, Danny Cleary and Niklas Kronwall.

"That's probably part of it," said Brad Stuart, who started taking on more power-play duties when Kronwall was injured. "You're missing key components of your power play.

"Right now we're not getting a whole lot of opportunities so when we do get opportunities, we're not quite urgent enough. That's got to be something we focus on, having a little more urgency because we're only getting one or two or three at the most, it seems like, so we really gotta take advantage and we're not doing it."

Todd Bertuzzi has stepped up recently, just not on the power play. Of his six goals his last six games, only one has come on the power play.

Tomas Holmstrom (seven) and Pavel Datsyuk (four) lead the Wings in power-play goals -- but both play on the first unit.

"I think that's something that we have to work at, especially with some of the new guys that are getting a chance to be on it, to know our positions, know where to go on the breakout, take the shots when they're there and create some chances by shooting the puck a lot more than we have been," said Nick Lidstrom, who had 10 power-play goals last season (16 total).

Lidstrom's only goal this season came on a power play.

Stuart said attitude has a role in a successful power play.

"We've got to find a way to generate more offense," Stuart said. "That's not always skill. A lot of it can be determination. We just have to make sure we're sticking with the guys we got and the guys that are out there have to be more determined."

Newbury out, Ritola in

The Wings on Monday assigned Kris Newbury to Grand Rapids and recalled forward Mattias Ritola .

"We liked what we saw from Ritola in training camp this year," Wings GM Ken Holland said. "Newbury gave us a good little push there, but you know, we're going to try something else -- shake it up a little."

Ritola, a fourth-round pick in 2005, has seven goals and seven assists and a minus-4 rating with the Griffins.

Sending Newbury to Grand Rapids leaves Detroit short one center. Presumably, Kris Draper , who's been playing forward, will move to center Wednesday against Chicago.

Holland said all signs point to Filppula returning Saturday.

"There's nothing official yet, but that's been our target for a couple of weeks," Holland said. "That's what we are hoping."

By the numbers

1: Shorthanded goal allowed by Detroit, No. 1 in the NHL (Philadelphia is last at six)

25:01: Nick Lidstrom's average time on ice per game, eighth in the NHL (San Jose's Dan Boyle is No. 1 at 27:04)

231: Mike Babcock's career victories in Detroit, fifth in club history

Joe Louis Arena

Built: 1977--79

Cost: $57 million

Capacity: 20,066

Opening event: Dec. 12, 1979, basketball game between Michigan and Detroit

Opening hockey event: Dec. 27, 1979, Blues vs. Red Wings

Championships: Red Wings (1996--97, 1997--98, 2001--02, 2007--08)

Did you know? Joe Louis Arena, named for boxer and former heavyweight champion Joe Louis, is one of three NHL arenas without a corporate sponsorship name (Madison Square Garden, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum).

Chris McCosky contributed."> (313) 222-2089

See Also