Same old, same old for Red Wings’ young guns

by Bob Condor ||

abdelkader-det09b_200.jpgThe back-to-back thing?

Worked out for the Red Wings and even seemed routine for the likes of young contributors Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm and Jonathan Ericsson.

"We’re used to back-to-back," said Abdelkader seated at his locker, which neighbors Helm. "We did it all year in Grand Rapids (AHL). For me, Helmer and Ericsson it’s nothing new. We even have some three games in three nights."

Well, routine until you factor Abdelkader scoring his second Pens-back-breaker goal in two nights (his first two NHL goals) and Helm, who won a critical faceoff to set up Ericsson’s goal that tied the game at 1-1, leading the League in hits during the Playoffs.

Ericsson, oh, he underwent an appendectomy last Wednesday and played in his first two Stanley Cup Final games this weekend.

Yep, same old stuff.

Abdelkader, who scored the winning goal in the 2007 NCAA Championship game for Michigan State, said Saturday night that title-winner with 18 seconds left is still his top career highlight even after scoring his first NHL goal to salt Game 1. Sunday, he told reporters his Game 2 goal was "totally different" from the Michigan State score.

"This one tonight was a prayer and a hope on net," said Abdelkader. "The Michigan State goal, I got good wood on it. It was a good shot."

The Michigan native (he’s from same Muskegon area as Pittsburgh coach and local hero Dan Bylsma) explained he is gaining confidence because Detroit coach Mike Babcock is putting him on the ice in the defensive zone, a sure sign of trust.

"I’m initiating more contact and getting more comfortable with each game," he said. "I wasn’t holding onto the puck before."