Sometimes it takes awhile to get the mix right on a line -- it takes changing what has worked in the past and trying something different. Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk, for example, got off to a slow start this season, recording just two goals and nine assists after 17 games. This, despite playing with Henrik Zetterberg, a guy with whom Datsyuk has had inimitable chemistry, despite playing with goal scorers like Johan Franzen, Jiri Hudler and Danny Cleary. On Nov. 19, however, Todd Bertuzzi returned from a six-game layoff, and coach Mike Babcock opted to put Bertuzzi with Datsyuk and Franzen rather than return Bertuzzi to the third-line duty he'd been given when the season began. Two months later, Datsyuk's 40 points in the past 29 games have edged him within three points of NHL scoring leader Evgeni Malkin's 54 points. Franzen has picked up nine of his 18 goals and 15 of 22 assists since Nov. 19. Bertuzzi had one goal and two assists when he headed to sick bay and emerged to produce nine goals among 21 points. The line has helped push Detroit atop the NHL standings heading into tonight's game against Columbus.
Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi thrive on new line
Detroit Free Press | Jan 21