Zidlicky proving to be wise acquisition for Wings

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Boston — There weren't many, but one of the few Red Wings bright spots Sunday was Marek Zidlicky.

The veteran defenseman acquired before the trade deadline scored his second goal in three games with the Red Wings — both on the power play — but it wasn't enough in the 5-3 loss to Boston.

"It's nice but we didn't win," said Zidlicky of his goal. "It's frustrating."

Still, Zidlicky's acquisition appears to be a shrewd one.

Zidlicky played 17:01 , had three shots on net and was credited with one giveaway (he had a minus-1 rating).

In a three-game sample size, the defenseman has been everything the Red Wings could have hoped for with his offensive contributions.

"He really has a great shot," Henrik Zetterberg said. "He was waiting until two or three guys moved in front of the net and it was a perfect shot, top shelf . He's good, and he made a lot of good plays again, and it's nice to have him.

"He moves the puck real well and he skates good. I've been playing against him for many, many years and it's nice to have him on our side."

Zidlicky starred for many years with Nashville, when the Red Wings were in the Western Conference, and hurt the Red Wings with his quarterbacking the power play.

"He's been around a long time and he's played a lot of games. He's a smart player," Jimmy Howard said. "He's just slick with the puck and has an unbelievable shot."

The adjustment has been smooth for Zidlicky, coming over to the Red Wings, partly because of the roster around him.

"Pretty good team, and they're pretty good players, skilled players," Zidlicky said. "It's a lot easier for me."

Big, bad Bruins

For a team that's on the cusp of making the playoffs, the Bruins would appear to be a dangerous first-round opponent for any team as one of the East's wild cards.

The Bruins eliminated the Red Wings in the playoffs last season, and have defeated the Wings three times this season (once in a shootout) in four games total.

"Every game that we've played has been a battle and that's what you expect when you play Boston," Howard said. "It's going to be a hard-hitting, physical game and you better come to play. Otherwise they can really run you out of the building."

The Bruins are 4-0-1 over their last five games and after a season of inconsistency and injuries, could be hitting their stride.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Bruins defenseman Torey Krug (Livonia/Michigan State). "We're not taking a step back and looking at our game. We' just going to keep going and take an aggressive style. We're here to win hockey games and not just sit back and play them."

Ineffective special teams

You're not going to win many hockey games when allowing two power-play and two short-handed goals.

And the Red Wings didn't, while also going 1-for-5 on the power play missing in four consecutive attempts in the first two periods.

"Sloppy from the beginning," Zetterberg said. "Too many turnovers from our side. In the second period we played good, we created a lot of good chances, unfortunately they scored the goals.

"We do it to ourselves, we have to be better mentally, we can't give them those kind of chances, not against a team like this."

Babcock insisted it wasn't a chemistry issue, incorporating Erik Cole and Zidlicky into the lineup.

"It has to do with not doing our job," Babcock said. "Lack of preparation obviously from the coaching end. Anytime you look like you don't play hard enough and you're not organized enough, then the players have to look after how hard they play and how they prepare, so that's on them.

"But us not having them ready to go is on us."

Ice chips

Pavel Datsyuk had two assists, and has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in his last nine games.

… Zetterberg, on Luke Glendening who scored his ninth goal this season: "He's a good player. He's huge for us, for the penalty kill and defensively but also when he gets the chances offensively, he can score goals. Last year, he only had one goal but he had a lot of chances."

Kyle Quincey ended a seven-game scoreless streak with an assist.

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

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Oilers at Red Wings

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Outlook: The Red Wings defeated Oilers 4-2 on Jan. 6…The Oilers are last in the Western Conference (18-37-11, 47 points) and are 3-6-2 over their last 11 games...C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 19 goals, three in Sunday's 7-4 loss in Carolina.