Detroit Red Wings: 3 Stars of the Week

PJ SapienzaContributor IIIMarch 25, 2013

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MARCH 16: Justin Abdelkader #8 of the Detroit Red Wings and Jason Garrison #5 of the Vancouver Canucks keep an eye on the airborne puck during the second period of NHL action on March 16, 2013 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings had a rough start to the week with a bad 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild.  They did finish strong though by beating the Anaheim Ducks on the road twice.

The 2-1 record for the week has them sitting in fifth in the Western Conference with 37 points.                                                 

First Star: Justin Abdelkader

Many wondered why Justin Abdelkader had been put on Pavel Datsyuk’s line.  With more natural scorers on the team it seemed like an odd fit. Abdelkader’s slow start to the season really had people questioning that decision.

Perhaps Coach Mike Babcock was hoping he could be the next Tomas Holmstrom or maybe he just had a hunch but the move has started to pay off.

Abdelkader helped quiet the criticism when he had his first career hat trick during the first game against the Ducks.  He also had an assist which gave him a four-point game.  This helped continue a hot streak that started last week with five goals over a three game period.

Second Star: Pavel Datsyuk

Pavel Datsyuk had another productive week.  He had one goal and two assists and really helped push Abdelkader to a career week.

Datsyuk is now tied for the team lead in goals (Damien Brunner) and assists (Henrik Zetterberg).  He has points in five of his last seven games.

Third Star: Johan Franzen

Johan Franzen not only rounds out the three stars of the week but also makes it a clean sweep for the Datsyuk line. He had one goal and two assists for the week. 

His goal scoring has been down this year dropping from .37 goals per game to .24.  On the plus side his assists have increased from .35 to .44 per game.

Franzen has played well of late with four goals and a plus-six rating over the past five games.  Hopefully he can find his scoring touch.

This week the Red Wings will play the Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks on the road before returning home to play the Chicago Blackhawks. The Western Conference is still tight with the fourth through twelfth spots all within eight points. Another strong week will help put distance between the Red Wings and the other teams chasing a playoff spot.