Abdelkader impresses as a sub for injured Modano in Wings victory

Nov 29 2010 - 5:46pm

DETROIT -- Justin Abdelkader did well in his first game replacing the injured Mike Modano as the Red Wings' third-line center, even though he didn't figure into the scoring.

He led the Wings with four hits in the first period and won 5 of 6 face-offs in the first two periods as the Wings took a 2-1 lead. The Wings went on to beat the Blue Jackets, 4-2, on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.

Wings coach Mike Babcock had said that he wasn't expecting Abdelkader to be a regular when he came back from a rib injury suffered in the exhibition season.

Abdelkader finished with a team-high five hits and won 5-for-7 on face-offs (71 percent) in 8:56.

"I thought he was fine," Babcock said of Abdelkader. "He's just going to get better with time. That line has a chance to be a good line. Abby's gotta distribute the puck a little bit, but they gotta spend some time grinding."

Sunday's game was the 13th straight game that Abdelkader played, but his first playing as a center.

"Obviously it's a little different than playing the wing," Abdelkader said. "You do a little more skating up and down the rink. It'll be a little adjustment."

Modano, 40, had surgery Saturday to repair a severed tendon in his right wrist and is out indefinitely. He was cut by the skate blade of Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger during Detroit's 2-1 victory in Columbus on Saturday.

TALE OF TWO SEGMENTS: The Wings went 7-2-1 in each of their first two 10-game segments and lead the Western Conference with 30 points after 20 games. The Wings dramatically improved their power-play performance after their first 10 games, but the penalty kill wasn't as strong over the second 10-game segment.

The Wings scored 12 power plays in 39 chances (30.8 percent) in Games 11-20, up from 16 percent in their first 10 games.

NOTEBOOK: Adrian College men's hockey coach Ron Fogarty was interviewed during a first-period intermission at Joe Louis Arena to promote interest in Saturday's game at Michigan Stadium -- the Division III outdoor hockey game.

Adrian College will host Concordia (Wis.) at 9:30 a.m. That game will help kick off a week of festivities that leads into the Big Chill outdoor hockey game Michigan is hosting against Michigan State at 3 p.m. Dec. 11. More than 150,000 tickets already have been sold for that game.

Fogarty said fans who bring ticket stubs from Sunday's Wings game can get into Adrian's game for free. Otherwise, tickets are $10 for ages 13 and older or $2 for children 12 and under.

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