Move to wing has been good for Wings' Abdelkader

Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader is hit by the puck as he screens Chicago Blackhawks...

Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader is hit by the puck as he screens Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford during during Game 2 of the NHL Western Conference semifinal in Chicago, May 18, 2013. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:31 PM ET

Justin Abdelkader's development as a winger has been credited as a reason for the Detroit Red Wings improvement this season.

Abdelkader started the year centring the Red Wings fourth line, but heading into Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal against the Chicago Blackhawks Monday, he was skating beside Pavel Datsyuk on the top unit.

A move from centre to left wing proved beneficial to both Abdelkader and the Red Wings.

"I'm trying to go out and make the most of the opportunity and keep my game simple," Abdelkader said. "For the most part, I've been trying to play the same game. I just try to get in on the forecheck, play strong, play heavy and be around the net."

Abdelkader adds muscle to Datsyuk's unit, which also features winger Johan Franzen. He's benefited from skating alongside one of the most talented players in the NHL and learned early to be prepared to receive the puck at any time.


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