Originally written March 07, 2013 on Fox Sports Detroit:
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DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have some excellent hockey players but they don't have a Steven Stamkos or a Sidney Crosby. You don't get those players when you don't have the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft, which the Wings haven't had because they've made the playoffs 21 straight seasons. Crosby and Stamkos currently lead the league in scoring. The Wings have Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, who are 12th and 15th in the league in scoring, respectively. But the Wings have always been a better team when they've been able to get scoring from all of their lines, not just their top two, and from their defensemen. Earlier in the season, the Wings needed Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Damien Brunner to do the scoring. But Thursday night, the goals were coming from some unexpected sources. Defenseman Jakub Kindl scored the first goal of the game in the second period, his second of the season. Cory Emmerton, who had been buzzing about the offensive zone and was second in shots with four, collected his second goal of the season at 12:19 of the second. "Pavel broke his stick," Emmerton said. "It was the end of a shift. He changed and Millsy (Drew Miller) made a heads-up play there to get it to me in the middle. Just tried to make a good shot there." Justin Abdelkader, who hadn't scored since March 10 of last year in Nashville, a 36-game drought, finally got the empty-netter with 1:10 left in the third period, ensuring a 3-0 victory over the young Edmonton Oilers. "Long time coming," a relieved Abdelkader said. "It feels like I havent scored in about five years. Sometimes its those kind of goals, maybe off your body or whatever parts that will get you going. I felt good. I had some chances. Hopefully, I get a few more breaks here." Abdelkader was not one of the players who went to Europe during the lockout and coach Mike Babcock felt that it showed in the early going. "I thought Abby had his best game," Babcock said. "When he first started this year he was probably surprised what being off hockey did to him. As much as he trained and hes a fitness guy, when youre a big body and you haven't played, you don't skate like you (can). I thought Abby skated great tonight and obviously was a contributor for us for sure." The Wings have also gotten contributions from Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson, called up from Grand Rapids because of injuries, and even from Patrick Eaves, who missed a year after a severe concussion. Eaves assisted on Kindl's goal and has three points in his last four games. Secondary scoring is huge," said Miller, who assisted on Emmerton's goal. "You count on it in the playoffs, you count on it when the big guys arent having their best night or theyre not getting the goals. So everyone has to chip in here and there. I think the way we started the season, I think it was 10 games no one in the bottom six had a point or something like that but we take pride in our role and we want to chip in. So were working at that." The Wings hope that the injuries they've suffered will end up helping down the road as the younger players have had a chance to prove themselves at the NHL level. "It's given a lot of guys a chance and I think all the guys have done a really good job of filling in to roles and playing with different guys, playing in certain situations that they might not get a chance to play in if we're healthy," Abdelkader said. "I think in the long run it's going to make us that much better for it and show us that we've got a lot of great depth and it'll be a good thing moving forward." That doesn't mean the Wings wouldn't like to get Valtteri Filppula, Todd Bertuzzi, Mikael Samuelsson and Darren Helm back, it only means they don't have to hurry back before they're ready.
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