Blashill shuffles forwards to try to ignite offense
Detroit — When you look at the Red Wings offense, it's Henrik Zetterberg's line — Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader — and not much else.
So, coach Jeff Blashill shuffled his lines during Monday's practice in an effort to get more players going.
"Z's line has been productive," Blashill said. "(But) we need more out of more lines. We're just trying to find the right combination and chemistry."
Zetterberg (nine points, two goals), Larkin (six points, two goals) and Abdelkader (five points, four goals) have accumulated 20 points, dominating the team's offensive numbers.
Teemu Pulkkinen has three goals and Gustav Nyquist two, but there's only one goal from the rest of the forwards (Riley Sheahan).
Blashill put has Sheahan between Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, while Brad Richards is centering Darren Helm and Pulkkinen.
Luke Glendening was on the fourth line between Drew Miller and Landon Ferraro.
Blashill split Richards and Tatar, a combination that appeared to develop chemistry during camp but fizzled to start the season. Neither has a goal, and each has two assists apiece.
"For whatever reason they haven't had the puck enough," Blashill said. "Both will tell you they haven't had the puck enough in the offensive zone and as a result, you don't get opportunities and you wind up chasing it (the puck) a little bit.
"Both guys have tried hard, but for whatever reason it's just been a case where they haven't had the puck enough to make much happen."
Getting another line hot, Tatar said, is important.
"One line going, that's not enough," Tatar said. "We have to produce more and try something else to produce, and not just the first line.
"Hank's line has played real good and they've carried us."
Richards, a veteran free-agent signing last summer, would have liked a better start, but isn't worried this early in the season.
"It's a long season, a lot of hockey to be played," he said. "Frustration doesn't do much good."
Much of the lack of offense has to do with the low number of shots the Red Wings are sending at opposing goaltenders.
The Red Wings are last among the 30 teams, averaging 21.4 shots.
"We have to spend less time in our end and more time in the other team's end," Blashill said. "We have to bring the puck out better and be heavier in our end. When you do that, the shots differential issue will change. But right now, we're spending to much time in our end."
Center Pavel Datsyuk (ankle) skated on his own before Monday's practice, but a return to full practice appears a few weeks away.
"Datsyuk's making progress," Blashill said. "I don't have a time(frame on a return). But he's making progress."
Based on original projections, Datsyuk is likely to return in early November.