Detroit — The Red Wings didn't get back to Detroit until after 2 a.m. Wednesday following a 2-1 overtime loss in Montreal, so instead of the scheduled on-ice practice, coach Mike Babcock gathered his players for a little chalk talk.
"I wanted to clear up a lot in our game," Babcock said. "We had a meeting and we dealt with our power play. We dealt with we feel we can score way better by being harder. We haven't been. Just trying to evolve our game."
Here are the raw numbers: The Red Wings are 2-for-24 on the power play. And they have scored nine goals in 5-on-5 situations and one on 4-on-4 (12 total in six games).
"You've got to get off the schneid," Babcock said. "You have to get one so everyone relaxes and makes some plays, instead of doing what we've been doing right now. I'm really confident that will happen. I've been really impressed with our look and the opportunities. We've had some looks and it hasn't gone in for us. Once it starts going in, you feel better about yourself."
Babcock stressed his team needs to get more shots at the net, get more bodies to the front of the net and work harder to keep the puck in the attacking zone — that's at even strength as well as on the power play.
"When you look at the work ethic of our penalty kill, those guys work," Babcock said of the penalty kill unit that has yet to allow a goal. "The power play's got to work that hard, as well. You've got to outwork the guys you're playing against. If you don't, you'll have no chance."
Theoretically, the offense and the power play got a boost Tuesday with the return of Pavel Datsyuk, who missed most of the exhibition season and the first five games because of a separated shoulder.
But, even though he did have a goal disallowed, Datsyuk admitted it's going to take some time before he starts impacting the game like he normally does.
"I feel a little slow," he said. "Everybody's flying around. I needed to make better plays and be stronger on the puck. But always this happens in the first game after (a prolonged absence). Every game (going forward) will be much better and I will be much more comfortable."
Babcock expects the second game back to perhaps be more difficult than the first for Datsyuk, simply because his adrenalin level won't be the same.
"It's going to take him a bit," Babcock said. "He's an elite player but when you miss training camp it takes you some time, I don't care how good a player you are. The NHL is flying out there and if you come back and you're not up to pace, it shows."
Datsyuk said the shoulder didn't take any real abuse on Tuesday and he said he came out of the game feeling fine.
"Yeah, no shots (on the shoulder); no shots on net, either," he said. "I don't think it will take more time (than usual). But I still need a little more time to come back (to full strength)."
He made a great move, stopping, twirling and firing a backhander into the net that would have put the Red Wings up 2-0. But the referee ruled Justin Abdelkader, who skated to the front of the net, made incidental contact with goaltender Carey Price.
Television replays showed Price initiated the contact.
"I didn't have any real emotions because I saw right away they say no goal," Datsyuk said. "I saw the play. Sometimes they make good call, sometimes bad call. It's his job."
Still, disallowed goals are tougher to swallow for a team struggling mightily to score them.
"At the beginning of the season, every team plays tight and there's not many goals," Datsyuk said. "Our team is not scoring many goals. We need more shots. It's not easy to score now with the big goalies.
"You have to try to get rebounds and score off rebounds."
That's key for the power play, too, Datsyuk said.
"More shots," he said. "We are trying to make it a better chance, get a better shot and sometimes we don't shoot. We don't get rebound. Like I said, it's not easy to score on a straight shot. We have to start getting more dirty goals, rebound goals."
Sooner the better. The Red Wings host a Penguins team tonight that has scored 16 goals in four games entering Wednesday.