Red Wings Preach 'high Level Of Urgency' On Power Plays; PK Looks Good - CATEGORY Daily News: TITLE


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Red Wings getting down to 'crunch time,' realize need for a run

TAYLOR - Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said he doesn't need to look at the standings to grasp the urgency of the situation.

"We're getting down to crunch time, we all know that," Zetterberg said. "We know how many games we have left, we know how many points are left to (attain). We pretty much know many we got to win."

The Red Wings are tied for last place in the Atlantic Division with the Buffalo Sabres. They are seven points out of the final playoff spot. And having three other teams to leap-frog makes it that much more difficult.

"You know you have to put a run together for weeks and games," Zetterberg said. "If you're not doing that, you're not going to move. Even if we're doing that and other teams are doing that, it's the same thing. It's hard to be behind and we're behind now."

Will Zetterberg need to deliver another fiery dressing room speech like the one documented in the EPIX special prior to the Centennial Classic?

"We'll see. It's nothing that I'm planning on doing," Zetterberg said. "When it's necessary, I do. We all know what we have to do. You can only talk and say that much. You got to out and play better."

The Red Wings wrap up a stretch of seven consecutive road games with stops in Chicago (Tuesday, 8:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit) and Dallas (Thursday, 8:30 p.m., FSD), their annual Dads/Mentors trip.

They could get a boost with the imminent return of defenseman Mike Green (upper-body injury on Dec. 17) and Justin Abdelkader (MCL sprain on Dec. 1). Their status will be determined following Tuesday's morning skate at United Center.

"Both of those guys play a lot of minutes, they're playing both situations, PP and PK," Zetterberg said. "Looks like Greener at least is going to be back (Tuesday). We'll see if Abby also will be back."

Abdelkader skated on a line with Dylan Larkin and Tomas Tatar Monday at Taylor SportsPlex. He was at the net front on a power-play unit with Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Ryan Sproul.

"Felt pretty good," Abdelkader said. "We'll evaluate tomorrow and see from there. No decisions yet but it felt good. It was good to get a good skate, haven't been many practices since I've been out so it was nice to get some line rushes."

Abdelkader's size, physical play and net presence will help.

"He's a guy that scores. He different than a lot of guys we have. He's a big body that goes to the net hard," coach Jeff Blashill said. "He's good defensively. He's been an important piece, a commodity in the NHL when you have size and a skill package. With that said, it takes guys a while to get back going. It's not going to happen overnight."

Green skated with Danny DeKeyser, his regular partner.

"I thought Green was playing at a high, high level when he got hurt," Blashill said. "He looked like a real No. 1 defenseman in the NHL, so when he gets going it'll be big for us to have him playing at the high level again."

Both players should help boost a league-worst power play that has been even worse on the road (2 for 59, 3.4 percent, 54 consecutive chances without a goal).

"You got to win your one-on-one battles, the power-play guys got to outwork the penalty killers," Abdelkader said. "Obviously, you have an advantage, you have one extra guy, so you should be winning these battles and making sure that if we're getting shots on net that we're getting those retrievals, we're getting those second and third chances. You can't just be one and done."

Kronwall day-to-day: Defenseman Niklas Kronwall hasn't been on the ice since suffering a lower-body injury in the second period Wednesday at Anaheim. He said he's day-to-day, not long-term.

"I don't want to rule anything out, but I also don't want to say too much and get my hopes up," Kronwall said. "We'll just take it day by day and go from there.", latest News Around the world presents the latest information of national, regional, and international, politics, economics, sports, automotive, and lifestyle.

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