Detroit — The Red Wings will be without Justin Abdelkader, at least for a few days.
Coach Jeff Blashill said after Saturday’s morning skate Abdelkader has a fractured cheekbone and is considered day-to-day until after seeing a specialist Monday.
“He’ll see a specialist Monday and we’ll have more (information) from there,” Blashill said. “We don’t anticipate it being a long-term thing. But until he sees the specialist, we don’t know.”
Abdelkader suffered the injury Thursday during a fight with Calgary’s Troy Brouwer, in the second period of the 6-3 loss to the Flames.
Brouwer let go a flurry of punches early in the fight and appeared to stun Abdelkader.
Blashill stressed he didn’t think this was going to be a long-term injury.
“We certainly think it’s going to be short term,” Blashill said. “Day to day, whatever you want to call it. But we’ll have more details (Monday).”
The injury comes at an unfortunate time for Abdelkader, who was playing some of his best hockey of the season.
Over the last seven games, Abdelkader had five points (all assists) with a plus-2 rating. For the season, Abdelkader has two goals and seven assists (nine points) in 17 games, with a minus-1 rating.
Either Luke Witkowski or David Booth will re-enter the lineup, taking Abdelkader’s place.
Saturday’s game against Columbus began a stretch for the Red Wings of having 13 of their next 15 games at Little Caesars Arena.
Rarely does an NHL team enjoy such a home stand, and it’s one of the Red Wings want to capitalize on after being on the road so much to begin the season.
It’s easy to get too comfortable and begin playing to please the crowd when being at home so much.
But the Red Wings are intent on countering the potential downfalls.
Red Wings forward on importance of playing well as team's next 13 of 15 games are at Little Caesars Arena. Ted Kulfan
“Just be ready,” said forward Anthony Mantha, of what the key will be during this upcoming stretch. “Be ready every night. We want to have a winning percentage at home, and if we want to be in contention for a playoff spot at the end of the year, in this long stretch we have to be over .650 (winning percentage) or .700, to be a good team.
“That’s what we’re aiming for.”
The Red Wings won three of their first four games on the road this season and would like to get into a similar frame of mind, now, at LCA.
“We have to get into a groove similar to the way we did on the road,” forward Dylan Larkin said. “We have to get comfortable and win games.”
After a hot start, forward Henrik Zetterberg has found his offensive production slow considerably.
Zetterberg entered Saturday’s game with only two (both assists) in the last nine games and had gone 10 games without a goal.
With the Red Wings rolling four lines these days, Zetterberg is seeing a little less ice time, which might be part of the reason for the decline in production.
But, overall, Blashill isn’t concerned.
“That’s the ebb and flow of the season,” said Blashill of Zetterberg’s slump. “I don’t think it’s necessarily big that way, the minutes have been evened out more as we’ve gone through the year.
“You reassess, and see how this team will be successful, and we’ll be more successful as a four-line team, where at the end of last season we were successful as a three-line team and the fourth line played sparingly.”
Zetterberg entered Saturday’s game with 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) with a minus-5 rating.