Red Wings coach Mike Babcock delivered a message recently to Kyle Quincey: Just keep adding those pluses.

A little more than a year since the Wings traded a first-round pick for him, Quincey is showing why the Wings anted up for his services. He helped them to a 2-1 victory over his former team, Colorado, on Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena, and wasn't on the ice for the one time the Avalanche scored.

Quincey leads the Wings with a plus-11 rating, proof that he's turning around his season.

"Last month or so, I'm just trying to keep it simple," he said. "That's what Babs has been saying: Just do good when you're on the ice. My one goal is just to keep the puck out of our net, and it's nice to see our goals against going down."

Quincey got a boost last week when his regular defense partner, Brendan Smith, returned after missing most of February with a sprained shoulder. The two complement each other well, with Quincey playing more of the stay-at-home role while Smith jumps up into rushes.

"Smitty and Q have been playing great," Niklas Kronwall said. "They're really quick back in their zone, getting the puck and getting it moving. That's key to our game."

The Wings acquired Quincey, 27, a week before the 2012 trade deadline via Tampa Bay, bringing back a player they lost through waiver wires in the fall of 2008. Quincey demonstrated a nice offensive touch while with Los Angeles and then Colorado, regularly contributing around 20 assists and a handful of goals. The Wings haven't gotten that out of Quincey -- he had one point after 20 games -- but that doesn't mean nearly as much to his coach as the plus rating.