After seeing the Detroit Red Wings score three goals in three games, coach Mike Babcock decided to split Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. This has become Babcock’s go-to move when trying to ignite a spark throughout Detroit’s lineup, and the Wings will have some new-look lines when they take on the New York Rangers on Saturday.
Datsyuk and Zetterberg split up. Datsyuk skating with Bertuzzi and Alfredsson; Zetterberg centering Franzen and Tatar.
— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) October 25, 2013
Two names are missing from that list that are somewhat surprising. Stephen Weiss certainly needs to pick up his level of play, but it’s interesting not to see him included in the top-six. Justin Abdelkader has become the apple of Babcock’s eye because of his hustle and tenacity, but apparently doesn’t figure into this particular version of Detroit’s top-six.
Todd Bertuzzi has been strong around the net early on, and has been effective utilizing his long reach on wrap-around attempts. He’ll take over Abdelkader’s crash-and-bang presence up on the top line. Datsyuk and Daniel Alfredsson could form a solid one-two combo.
It isn’t hard to imagine Datsyuk creating time and space for Alfredsson and his wicked one-time shot, which has been on full display in Detroit.
The second line follows the same formula. Is this setup, Johan Franzen appears to be the big, net-front presence while Babcock is rewarding Tomas Tatar for his strong play by setting him up with Zetterberg.
That leaves a pretty outstanding pool of players to pull from for lines three and four as well. Babcock appears to be trying to simultaneously ignite the offensive games of all his forwards as they take on New York. Who, as you may or may not know, hasn’t been very good this season.