Power goes out on Wings at home
Detroit – Talk about opposite extremes regarding the Red Wings' power play.
If you looked at Thursday's NHL statistics, you saw the Red Wings' power play ranked fourth on the road, at a blistering 24.3 percent (9-for-37).
At Joe Louis Arena? A dismal 27th (9-for-62, 14.5 percent).
So all told, the Red Wings were sitting 19th, at 18.2 percent (18-for-99), not good enough by the Red Wings' high standards. They were second last season at 23.8 percent.
"We know we can be way better," forward Tomas Tatar said.
Players and coaches both agree the disparity between home and the road is strange, and don't read too much into it.
"I don't think you can say we get too fancy at home," coach Jeff Blashill said. "That's the thing people talk about when you don't do things at home, but I don't see that necessarily.
"The biggest thing with our power play is to focus on delivering the puck to the net and delivering more chaos around the net with people around the net. That's been our focus now the last couple of weeks and we'll have to continue to do that."
Said Tatar: "We have get to the net and pick up rebounds. We need those dirty goals in the dirty areas and play a little more simple."
With even-strength play so tight and close these days in the NHL, success on the power play usually translates to wins.
"Special teams are a big part of the game nowadays," forward Gustav Nyquist said. "Five-on-five is real tight. If you win the special teams battle, you're usually going to get a pretty good chance to win the game.
"We feel like we haven't scored enough for sure. We were one of the top power plays in the league (last season) but we haven't gotten those same stats this year. We've had pretty good chances. It's just a matter of burying the chances."
Blashill took advantage of the night off Wednesday to drive to Cleveland to watch the Red Wings' minor-league affiliate Grand Rapids Griffins win a franchise-record 12th consecutive game.
Anthony Mantha scored twice in a 3-2 victory over Lake Erie.
Blashill feels there are options for the Red Wings, in case someone needs to be promoted.
"A lot of call-ups a lot of times are situational," Blashill said. "AA (forward Andreas Athanasiou) is one guy who can be a fourth-liner or top-three (lines) guy, but there might be a guy who is the best penalty killer, who will give you an option to be a little more physical or bigger. There are different guys in different roles, a bunch of good players who can come up and play now.
"It's just a matter of when they are a better option than what we have and what's the best fit."
The Griffins are on holiday break after playing Saturday, so the Red Wings are likely to call up a player this weekend to have for games Sunday against Calgary and Tuesday against New Jersey.
Blashill doesn't want to promote a player from Grand Rapids and have him sit. But with forwards Tomas Jurco and Joakim Andersson playing inconsistently, there might be lineup changes.
"Jurcs, there is still more there," Blashill said. "Andy, there is still more there. We are hoping those two guys can be even better come Friday (against Vancouver)."
Along with Athanasiou, Blashill liked what he saw out of 2014 first-round pick, Mantha.
"He did a good job of skating away from the puck, getting the puck and tracking back, and he won battles," Blashill said. "If Anthony Mantha does those things, he is going to be a real good NHL player in time.
"He looks like an NHL guy with his size and skill set. He just has to continue to grow as a hockey player."
Defenseman Kyle Quincey (ankle surgery) participated in his first practice since being sidelined a month ago.
"Just to see your name on the roster for practice was exciting," said Quincey, who isn't likely to return to the lineup until next month.
... Blashill said goaltender Jimmy Howard will get the start against Vancouver.
Canucks at Red Wings
Faceoff: 7:30 p.m. Friday night, Joe Louis Arena
TV / radio: FSD+ / 97.1 FM, 1270 AM
Outlook: The Canucks will be playing their third game in four nights on the road. ... Twins LW Daniel Sedin (14 goals) and C Henrik Sedin (22 assists) have led the Canucks offense. ... G Ryan Miller (East Lansing / Michigan State) has been solid (9-11-6, .910 SVS).