The Red Wings' Tomas Tatar, here scoring against Sharks Jan. 10, returns to the lineup Saturday against the Kings. He missed Thursday's 1-0 loss to the Rangers to attend his father's funeral in Slovakia. (Brandon Wade / Associated Press)
Detroit — Tomas Tatar could be back in the Red Wings lineup Saturday night against the Kings.
And that’s good news for a team searching for any offensive punch.
After consecutive 1-0 losses and a just-completed five-game trip that produced nine goals (two wins), any help is welcome.
“I’m very happy to be back here,” said Tatar, who returned from Slovakia on Thursday night after attending his father’s funeral. “Hopefully (I can help) get us back on track.”
Tatar scored a goal the first three games on the trip before being held scoreless in the fourth game, then missing Thursday’s loss to the Rangers.
“Obviously, a tough situation for him,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Anytime you lose a parent, I don’t care how young or old you are, it’s always devastating.”
But now, the Red Wings need to find a way to get the puck in the net, the way they did against U.S. Olympic goaltender Jonathan Quick in a 3-1 victory over the Kings last weekend.
Plus, they’re hoping to get the power play going. The Red Wings were 0-for-19 during the trip and haven’t scored a goal in their last 23 chances with the man advantage.
The Red Wings are 22nd on the power play (26 goals, 16.5 percent).
“Sometimes it just doesn’t go in for you and right now our team is going through that with the power play,” Red Wings forward Drew Miller said. “For myself and our penalty kill, we’re just trying to do the same thing every night, trying to be strong, play our systems, and we’re having some success right now and we’re trying to continue that and build off of it.”
Turning it around
Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard was 2-2 on the trip with a .956 save percentage and a 1.75 goals-against average.
“Ever since that Dallas game, he’s kind of had it going,” Babcock said of Howard, who will start Saturday. “He struggled on a couple in San Jose, but he’s played real well.
No home feeling
The Red Wings are 6-10-7 at home, where they lost six of seven to end last month.
The Red Wings are 11th in the East with 50 points, but just three points behind the fourth-place Maple Leafs.
“We have a good stretch of home games,” Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader said. “We have to play similar like we have on the road. The last few games we have been really good, we just haven’t scored. Our goaltending has been great. We’ve been getting a lot of chances, but the puck just hasn’t been going in.”
Taking a hit
The Red Wings were short 62 goals (52.9 percent) Thursday against the Rangers. And only Tomas Tatar is expected back tonight against the Kings:
|Player||Out since (injury)||Points (Goals)|
|Stephen Weiss||Dec. 12 (hernia)||four (two)|
|Johan Franzen||Dec. 17 (concussion)||22 (nine)|
|Jonathan Ericsson||Dec. 28 (ribs)||eight (one)|
|Darren Helm||Jan. 1 (groin)||11 (seven)|
|Pavel Datsyuk||Jan. 4 (lower body)||32 (15)|
|Daniel Alfredsson||Jan. 11 (back spasms)||19 (11)|
|Tomas Tatar||Jan. 16 (family funeral)||19 (10)|
|Joakim Andersson||Jan. 16 (lower body)||13 (seven)|
Goals: 2.49 (21st)
Power play: 16.5 percent (22nd)
Did you know? The Red Wings have been shut out six times this season. The team record is 11 in 1976-77.
Did you know II? Thursday’s shutout loss was the second time in history the Red Wings have lost consecutive 1-0 regular-season games (Nov. 11-13, 1954)