Wings' Andersson finds going to goal is net gain

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Certainly Joakim Andersson picked a good time to finally score his first goal of the season.

With the Red Wings mired in a defensive struggle with the St. Louis Blues, but slowly gaining momentum and control of the game, Andersson went to where players are always taught to go to score.

At the net, battling for the puck, Andersson ultimately slipped the puck past goalie Brian Elliott late in the second period Thursday.

"Right there, that's where you score the most goals in this league, around the net for rebounds," said Andersson, who has primarily been a checker in his NHL career. "It's a good opportunity to get one in."

Andersson and his fourth-line comrades, Drew Miller and Luke Glendening, were arguably the Red Wings' most consistent line in the 3-2 overtime victory over the Blues.

Andersson's goal got the Red Wings going, who added another one minute later with Tomas Tatar scoring.

"It took a while," said Andersson of his first goal, after scoring eight last season. "It's a good feeling. I had a ton of chances the first 10 or 15 games. Then I didn't create much until lately. So it was good to get one."

Maybe now that Andersson has the one more offense will follow.

"Obviously when you score a goal, everyone gets confidence out of it," Andersson said. "That's usually when you get a bunch. I'm not saying I'm going to score a bunch, but usually that's what goal scorers do.

"Confidence is huge when you get a goal."

Babcock was glad to see Andersson rewarded with a goal.

"Andy has been a good soldier for us, he's worked hard, he's been in and out of the lineup," Babcock said. "That line was good for us."

Back home

Babcock gave the Red Wings a day off Friday after the team arrived back in Detroit early in the morning hours.

They'll begin a rare three-game homestand Saturday against Nashville ]

"It's going to be nice going home," Henrik Zetterberg said. "You miss The Joe and the fans. But we're happy with the way we played on this trip."

The Red Wings were 4-2 on a six-game cross country trip that began in Vancouver, curled East, and then wound up in St. Louis — with only several days being able to practice in Detroit.

If you go back to right after the holiday break, the Red Wings have played eight of their last nine games on the road. In that span, they're 6-3.

"That's a good stretch for our team," Babcock said.

Earning the two points against St. Louis, arguably the best team the Red Wings have played during that six- or nine-game stretch, made the flight back to Detroit a little brighter.

"It was huge to get both points against St. Louis," Andersson said. "It's going to be nice to get back home and play some games at The Joe. We've been on the road for a bit. I don't know what our record is (at home) but it's been pretty good (it has been, 13-4-6)."

Ice chips

The Red Wings will catch a break playing against the Predators this time around. Nashville will be without goalie Pekka Rinne (knee), whom the team declared out for approximately a month earlier this week.

… None of the current injured Red Wings are likely to return before next weekend's All-Star break.

Jakub Kindl (elbow) and Tomas Jurco (back) appear closest to possibly returning during the two-game Florida trip after the break.

… Zetterberg remains two points behind Norm Ullman for seventh in Red Wings scoring history (758-756).

Predators at Red Wings

Faceoff: 7 p.m. Saturday, Joe Louis Arena

TV/radio: FSD-plus/97.1

Outlook: The Red Wings see another former Central Division rival for the first time this season…Nashville is leading the Western Conference behind a retooled offense (130 goals) led by Rookie of the Year candidate C Filip Forsberg (39 points).