Red Wings penalty kill crippled by injuries

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Injuries are beginning to pile up for the Red Wings, and it’s affecting their penalty killing.

Already without forwards Justin Abdelkader, Luke Glendening and Darren Helm, the Red Wings lost defenseman Trevor Daley during Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Daley exited the game in the second period with what the team called a lower-body injury and didn’t return.

Daley played 9:15 on 11 shifts before leaving.

Coach Jeff Blashill said Daley is “very questionable” to play Monday in New Jersey.

“I don’t have anything concrete to say except to say he’s very questionable for the next game,” Blashill said.

All the injuries to players who are key penalty killers are beginning to have an impact.

The Red Wings allowed two Carolina power-play goals, after giving up two to Dallas in a loss Tuesday.

They’ve allowed two power-play goals in three of the last four games — all defeats.

“We’ve got new guys and we’re trying different things,” said forward Dylan Larkin, one of the few healthy regulars on the PK unit. “It’s just a little bit of confusion but it’s hockey and you have to play.”

Said defenseman Niklas Kronwall: “We’ve had real success on it and for whatever reason, the puck has been finding its way in.”

Blashill feels it’s important for the new players on the unit to get repititions and get acclimated.

“We have to keep grinding and find a way to be better,” Blashill said. “We had a couple mistakes made by guys who haven’t had a lot of reps. They need reps and we continue to work through it.”

Getting an opportunity

Blashill had forward David Booth practicing with the second line late in the week and started Saturday’s game with Booth on a line with Frans Nielsen and Tomas Tatar.

Booth has played sparingly this season but has consistently impressed Blashill with his work ethic and professionalism.

Booth played a season-high 14:18 on 19 shifts Saturday and was minus-1, with one shot on net.

“I haven’t given David lots of opportunities,” Blashill said. “He’s had opportunities in small segments. He’s played pretty well, so maybe he gets a little more ice time playing up there (on the second line) and let’s see what he can do — and especially with Abby (Justin Abdelkader) and Helmer (Darren Helm), guys that play like him, out (with injuries). Let’s see if he can give us a little more.

“It also gives that line a little more forechecking and net presence.”

Ice chips

Xavier Ouellet replaced Nick Jensen in the lineup, and was minus-1 in 17:22.

… Tomas Tatar’s power-play goal was his team-leading seventh power play goal and broke the team’s 0-for-10 skid.

… Glendening (wrist) has been skating regularly but isn’t going to return before the All-Star break (Jan. 26-28).

“I want him to be skating as much as he can, be a part of the team as much as he can, so when he comes out of the All-Star break he’s as ready as possible,” Blashill said.

That Glendening has been able to maintain his conditioning should make for an easy return to the lineup.

“My legs are still there, I’ve been able to skate,” Glendening said. “It’s just getting back into the pace of things.”

Glendening took a puck on his wrist, just above the glove.

“Literally where my glove splits,” Glendening said. “When I went down it hit me right there. It’s crazy how it always seems to happen that way, ankle, knees, or whatever.”