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Detroit Red Wings Playoff Game Day Blog

POSTED ON Saturday, 04.21.2012 / 12:45 AM ET


Without you we’re just another hockey team. On behalf of our entire organization, we’d like to send our deepest gratitude to the best fans in hockey for your support this season. You make Hockeytown what it really is … special.


1) David Legwand – Scored the game-winning goal just 13 seconds into the third period and assisted on Alexander Radulov’s first period goal.
2) Alexander Radulov – His goal with 3:50 left in the first period put the Predators up 1-0. He also added an assist on Legwand’s game-winner in the third.
3) Pekka Rinne – Only had to make 21 saves on the night, but was a dominant force all series long.

TWEET OF THE NIGHT: @jjthomas06: “Mr. Rinne, tear down this wall.” #DRWChat


“Of course it’s disappointing. Right now it’s just empty, I think. Everyone in here believed something completely different than what the outcome was. It’s just empty right now.”
Niklas Kronwall

“I think guys are still pretty in shock that our season is over and we’ll restart in the summertime. Looking back on the year, I thought we did a great job. Things just didn’t go right.”
Jimmy Howard

“It definitely would have help us if we could put more pucks behind him (Rinne). I think we created chances, but couldn’t find a way to score. I think when we made mistakes, it ended up in our net. We played against a good team, but I think if we scored like we normally do, we would have had a better chance.”
Henrik Zetterberg

“Well played. Good luck and see you next year.”
– Zetterberg on what he said to Shea Weber in the handshake line

“When you lose 4-1 in a series, you can talk about all of the games being close. To me, that’s not close. 4-1 is not close.”
– Mike Babcock

“I thought this was our worst game of the series. I thought we played lots of good hockey in the series, but I didn’t think we were very good today. You’ve got to give them credit.”
– Babcock

“We got tested. We got measured by the Detroit Red Wings. They’re a great hockey team. They manage the puck so well. They’ve got great experience. They’ve got great character. It hasn’t really sunk in.”
– Barry Trotz

Kyle Quincey’s turnover behind the net led to Alexander Radulov’s tally in the first period, but that wasn’t the whole story. The Red Wings were outshot 10-8 over the first 20 minutes, outhit 10-7 and blocked eight shots to Nashville’s one, meaning that the bulk of the opportunities were near Jimmy Howard. The team that scored the first goal was 5-0 in the series.

“I think the first period was (uncharacteristic). I thought we sharpened up and played a lot better in the second,” said Nick Lidstrom. “In the third, they scored right off the bat in the first shift. I thought we were coming back in that second period and playing a lot better, but we couldn’t get that second effort in the third period.”


The first 33 minutes of Game 5 weren’t promising for Detroit, who rode the goaltending of Jimmy Howard (23 saves) to keep them in the game. Then, as had been a talking point throughout the entire series, net-front presence came to forefront. Henrik Zetterberg played the puck down the right side, throwing it to the net as Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler made their way towards Pekka Rinne. The attempt caught Filppula, landed on Hudler’s stick and ended up by the Nashville netminder.

POSTED ON Friday, 04.20.2012 / 6:35 PM ET

Here is Mike Babcock's Friday morning press conference.


And today's episode of Comerica Bank Game Day Preview has Ken Kal looking for luck in the Music City.

POSTED ON Friday, 04.20.2012 / 3:30 PM ET

Henrik Zetterberg and his teammates are focused
on winning one game at a time.
These three things could swing Game 5 one-way or another.

Even strength play: Everyone thought that Detroit’s biggest advantage of the series would be at even-strength. Instead, the Red Wings have been outscored 9-4 during the first four games.

“We’ve got to score some goals, so we’ve got to get to the net and yet, we thought we did quite a bit of that last game and had some opportunities,” Mike Babcock said. “If you look at the series really, they are averaging 22.8 shots a game and we’re averaging 35.”

The Red Wings are controlling the play when the sides are even, but they’re going to have to control the scoreboard as well to win Game 5.

Believe: Detroit had six winning streaks of three games or more during the regular season and that doesn’t count an NHL record 23 straight victories at home.

“We won three-in-a-row last year against the Sharks,” said Henrik Zetterberg about last season’s near record-setting playoff comeback. “We’ve just got to go down, play a good road game and get it back here for Game 6.”

One at a time: Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t win a seven game series in just one night.

“They still have to win one more game,” said Jimmy Howard. “I’m not the type of person to just roll over. I’m going to give whatever it takes in that next game and we’re just going to try and win one.”

Fans can look ahead, but the players can’t. Game 5 will be taken one period at a time, one shift at a time, even one play at a time. Any potential Game 6 is a mere mute point until the final horn sounds tonight.

Tomas Holmstrom

Earlier this morning on our Facebook page, we asked the best fans in hockey to send along their well wishes for Game 5.

Here are some of your responses.

“Each game is a new one and the previous ones do not matter. Go out there and do what you do best. All of your fans across the country will be cheering you on, especially in Detroit. Good luck guys!”
– Justin Hoot

“You are stronger than you know. We still believe in you 100%.”
– Will, Mary, Hayden and Madison Rogers of Au Train, Michigan

“It’s my birthday today and I’m one of your biggest fans! We need you! And we need you to win. Good luck.”
– Hillary Lombardi

“I’m running my first 5K for charity today and will be wearing my Red Wings shirt. You guys are my inspiration to work hard and give back. Keep up the great work! I’ll be rooting all the way from Florida for you tonight.
– Sarah Payne, Tampa

“If a two goal lead in hockey is considered the worst lead you could have, imagine how uncomfortable a two game lead must feel? If we win tonight, all of the pressure is on them. They’re not going to keep getting every bounce.”
– Justin Giersdorf

“Just wanted to let you know that I’m over here in Turkey rooting you on! Haven’t been able to watch a lot of the games this season, but when AFN does show them, I am glued to the TV.”
– Joe Gratson

POSTED ON Friday, 04.20.2012 / 2:36 PM ET

Darren Helm
Quick bits and pieces from the Red Wings optional morning skate at Bridgestone Arena.

- Mike Babcock said that there would be no lineup changes tonight.

- Even though he participated in Nashville’s morning skate, Hal Gill will not play tonight for the Predators. The defenseman has missed all five games of this series with a lower body injury.

- Darren Helm was present during Detroit’s on-ice festivities, choosing to watch practice from the bench.

- With Nashville up 3-1 in the series, both teams talked about the importance of an elimination game.

Drew Miller: “We have confidence knowing that we’ve done it before. I think we’ve just got to take it one game at a time and tonight’s the game you have to win. If you win tonight, you get another chance. If you don’t, you’re done.”

Justin Abdelkader: “We have a veteran group of guys in here, so we’re just going to take it one shift at a time, build off the last few games and try and correct our mistakes.”

Danny Cleary: “We’ve just got to play a hard, simple game tonight. We’ve just gotta grind.”

Nashville coach Barry Trotz: “You know they are going to come out and play their best game and we’re going to have to play our best game. We’re hoping to be on the positive side of that. We have a lot of respect for the Red Wings and what they did last year against the Sharks.”

- Following practice, as Jimmy Howard was taking off his pads, Tomas Holmstrom, who has one of the stalls to his left chimed in with a “you were real good today Howie. Real good.”

“Thanks,” Howard replied, thinking that Holmstrom was serious.

After a brief pause, Holmstrom, who could double as the team comedian offered back the following retort with an ear-to-ear grin.

“Just don’t peak too early, okay?”

Everybody couldn’t help but laugh.

- Mike Babcock was also asked about Nick Lidstrom’s future and offered up one of the best quotes of the playoffs thus far. 

“I think Nick Lidstrom retires when he thinks he’s not a good player anymore, but I think he’s been a pretty darn good player. I don’t know what could possibly be more fun than playing hockey at a high level on a great team. And I know his wife … so she doesn’t want him at home for sure (laughter).”

POSTED ON Friday, 04.20.2012 / 11:00 AM ET

Here is what is being said across the Winged Wide Web.

Brendan Savage of MLive notes that the Wings have been in this situation before.
View entire article.

What is the key to coming back? As Brian Hedger of writes, it’s taking things one game at a time.
View entire article.

The Detroit News has Nashville taking cues from the Red Wings success.
View entire article.

According to Craig Custance of, it has all been there for the Wings, except for the scoring.
View entire article.

There is always a silver lining somewhere, as Winging it in Motown explains.
View entire article.

The Detroit Free Press uses country tunes to sum up the series thus far.
View entire article.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz says that there is room for his team to improve in Game 5.
View entire article.

FOX Sports Tennessee focuses on Kevin Klein, who has brought unexpected offense to the Predators lineup.
View entire article.

Predators players know that Game 5 will be a matchup of motivation versus desperation.
View entire article.

Which Red Wing player was named one of the NHL’s most attractive by Cosmopolitan Magazine?
View entire article.

The Big Ten Hockey Tournament is coming to Joe Louis Arena in 2015 and 2017.
View entire article.

And finally, Red Wings TV has video from Mike Babcock’s Thursday press conference.

POSTED ON Friday, 04.20.2012 / 9:00 AM ET

Valtteri Filppula with his Red Wings' teammates.
(Photo by Dave Reginek)
Valtteri Filppula

DRW: How frustrating is it as a team to see scoring so elusive, even with the number of chances on Pekka Rinne?
VF: “It really isn’t the time to get frustrated. You have to keep going and battle through it. Their goaltender (Rinne) has played great and you’ve got to give credit to him. We’ve just got to be ready to go tomorrow.”

DRW: Does having a day to get away from it all help?
VF: “There has definitely been a lot of hockey, so getting some time off helps. We’re ready to go today (Thursday) and I think that will give us a boost in Game 5.”

DRW: In a situation like this, being down 3-1 in the series, how much does experience help?
VF: “A lot of guys have played in a lot of games, so hopefully it will help us. As always in the playoffs, the focus is on the next game and wanting to do the best that you can.”

DRW: Do you go into an elimination game knowing that this could be it, or do you try and ignore that fact?
VF: Definitely. I think we’ve been able to work through a lot of tough times as a team. You know that (in this case) you need to win the next game. We’ve been preparing really well all year long for this type of situation and I think we’re ready to go.”

DRW: Cosmopolitan Magazine named Nick Lidstrom as one of the most attractive players in the league. You are quite fashionable yourself, who else should have made the list?
VF: “I think that’s a great pick and definitely deserved. Hank should be there too, he’s right up there. Oh, Ericsson too.

DRW: Does Nick have that ‘most interesting man in the World’ aura to him?
VF: “I haven’t heard that before, but it could be. That’s really fitting for him.”

Tomas Holmstrom

DRW: Cosmo Magazine named Nick Lidstrom as one of the NHL’s most attractive players. Who else would be on your list?
TH: “I don’t know. I’ve never read it. Big E might be in there … Fabio.”

DRW: How do you get the puck past Pekka Rinne in Game 5?
TH: Rinne’s been playing great for them. We’ve had some close calls there with the post (Hudler) and the puck on the goal line (Franzen). We’re right on the doorstep. You just have to keep going, keep doing what we’re doing. We feel like this series could be 2-2 for sure with the chances we’ve had.”

DRW: Did having a day off on Wednesday help?
TH: “It was a good thing. We recharged the batteries. Sure, we’re disappointed to be down 3-1, but it felt good to recharge. We came back today (Thursday) a little bit fresher and we’re ready to go.”

DRW: Did you do anything special with the off day?
TH: “Not really. I just hung out with the family, spent time with them.”

POSTED ON Friday, 04.20.2012 / 12:00 AM ET

“You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is hockey. Because in either game, life or hockey, the margin for error is so small. I mean, one half step too late or too early, one half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second.”

“On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Cause we know when we add up all those inches, that’s going to be the difference between winning and losing, between living and dying.”

– Any Given Sunday (altered slightly for hockey)

Those inches that the legendary Al Pacino spoke of have been everywhere around us. Unfortunately for our boys in red, the scratching and clawing hasn’t added up to victory just yet.

What if Johan Franzen’s disallowed goal had come just a second sooner? What if Kevin Klein didn’t get a stick on Cory Emmerton’s golden opportunity in Game 3? What if one of those 40+ shots in Game 4 had gone an inch more to the left, or an inch more to the right on Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne?

The ‘what if’s’ are part of what makes being a fan so much fun, especially at this time of year. The thing about being a professional hockey player is that these guys understand that the sun will rise, another game will be played, and that until the clock strikes 0:00 on that fourth loss, the season is not over.

They know that you can’t change the past, but you can still control the future.

“I’d like us to play the same way we did last game with the exception of those two plays (which led to Nashville goals),” Mike Babcock said during his Thursday press conference. “One in our own zone and one off the rush. Just play that way.”

The 20 individuals who dress for tonight’s Game 5 will have a direct impact on whether we’ll see a Game 6 on Sunday. There won’t be any wishing. Hope isn’t a virtue. Nobody will shake a Magic 8 ball in the locker room, or throw pennies into the hotel fountain.

Those players who sport the Winged Wheel will determine their fate through grit, hard work and determination. They will control their own destiny by the way they play on the ice. They wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You can’t look at the big picture,” said Nicklas Lidstrom. “You’ve got to break it down and look at it as winning one game three times. We have to go down to Nashville, win that one game and that will be our mindset. We can’t look any further than that or we’re done.”

As Morgan Freeman said in The Shawshank Redemption, the Red Wings have to “get busy living, or get busy dying.”

The keyword is “get busy.” It’s time to win or go home. Why not win one game at a time?

    Hypothetical Caption
    Hudler: People are saying the series is almost over.
    Bertuzzi: You and I both know that this thing has only just begun.
The last time Detroit battled back from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series was in 1992, losing three of the first four games in a Norris Division semifinal to the Minnesota North Stars. The Red Wings were the higher seeded team in the series, but lost the first two meetings on home ice. Sergei Fedorov’s goal to win a thrilling Game 6 would end up being the last playoff game for the North Stars in Minnesota.

Game 1 – Minnesota 4, Detroit 3
Game 2 – Minnesota 4, Detroit 2
Game 3 – Detroit 5, Minnesota 4 (OT)
Game 4 – Minnesota 5, Detroit 4
Game 5 – Detroit 3, Minnesota 0
Game 6 – Detroit 1, Minnesota 0  (OT)
Game 7 – Detroit 5, Minnesota 2
Home team in


The Red Wings are 1-9 on the road in Game 5’s and 7-12 overall when trailing a series 3-1.

Including the playoffs, Pekka Rinne is 17-0-2 when making at least 35 saves in a game.

Detroit has not lost an opening round series since 2006, Mike Babcock’s first season as head coach.

The Red Wings have been outscored 9-4 in even-strength situations. Four of Detroit’s eight goals in this series have come on the power play.

GAME 5 VIEWING PARTY: The Red Wings and Absolut Vodka will host a special Game 5 viewing party tonight at the Hamlin Pub in Rochester Hills (1988 S. Rochester Road) Watch the game with fellow fans, take part in interactive games, and trivia, mingle with members of the Volunteer Energy Red Patrol, special guest Jason Woolley and much, much more. For more details visit:

It really works! The Detroit Red Wings Excuse-O-Matic is your way out of over-tweeting, ignoring a significant other, not letting the dog out, missing work, class, or whatever inconvenience you chose to ignore due to playoff hockey. Visit to create your own custom excuse, signed off on by your favorite player, or even coach Mike Babcock.

On Thursday, the Big Ten Conference announced that Joe Louis Arena will host its Men’s Ice Hockey Tournaments in 2015 and 2017. The three-day event will feature all six teams with the two seeds receiving an automatic bye to the semifinals. Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Ohio State, Minnesota and Wisconsin make up the league, which will begin play during the 2013-14 season.

MEET TED LINDSAY AT KROGER: Tomorrow, Kroger is teaming up with Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay to present Hockey Fest from 11AM-4PM at the Kroger Store on 10059 Highland Road in Hartland Township. Admission is free. In addition to Lindsay, fans can meet and mingle with other Red Wings Alumni, enjoy the ‘Legends of Hockey’ exhibit and enjoy interactive games, including the hardest shot.


11:30 AM – Nashville skates at Bridgestone Arena
12:30 PM – The Red Wings skate at Bridgestone Arena
8:00 PM – Game 5 between the Red Wings and Predators on FOX Sports Detroit, CNBC, CBC, RDS and 97.1 FM.

POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.18.2012 / 12:05 AM ET


With 16:46 remaining in the third period and the Red Wings on the power play, Niklas Kronwall shot the puck from inside the blue line, with Jiri Hudler providing a screen in front. The laser beam drive caught Hudler, then the back bar of the net, crossing the line and tying the game at one.

1) Pekka Rinne – What else can you say? The Nashville netminder made 40 of 41 saves, picking up his third victory of the series.  
2) Kevin Klein – Scored the game-winning goal 6:25 into the third period.
3) Kyle Quincey – Picked up an assist on Niklas Kronwall’s game-tying goal and made a pair of quality defensive plays to break up scoring chances.

@ndamukong_suh: Chillin at the @DetroitRedWing game! Yo ZETTERBERG! I gotcha back!!! #BASHBROTHERS


“I think we had 40 shots again tonight and a lot of them were quality chances. It’s tough when you are getting chances, chances and more chances and they go up and score a goal. The momentum really goes up on their side and we’ve got to fight back.”
Henrik Zetterberg

“It was definitely disappointing, but they’ve still got to win one more game.”
Jimmy Howard

“When you are out there working hard, I think it shows that we want to win. We’re putting shots on net. Sooner or later, they are going to go in.”
Drew Miller

It’s frustrating, but you’ve got to push past it. You’re playing playoff hockey now. You are not going to get the breaks all of the time. You’ve got to fight for it and battle for it. Now, we’re in a tough situation where we’ve got to go down to Nashville and win one game.”
– Nick Lidstrom

The Predators thought they had an early third period goal when David Legwand’s shot from the end line trickled by Jimmy Howard just 1:28 into the third period. That was until the referees determined that the whistle had blown before the puck had crossed the line, nullifying the play. Nashville ended up getting that goal back on the very next shift, as Gabriel Bourque took an Alexander Radulov pass and fired it past Howard.

The Predators also battled back to take the lead again following the Niklas Kronwall goal, as Martin Erat drew the attention of four Red Wing players, including Jimmy Howard, before firing a pass to Kevin Klein that ended up being the game-winning goal.

“We just said that we got to stabilize this, let’s just play through it,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “Detroit feeds on momentum, most teams in the National Hockey League, especially at home, get a goal and you’re sort of feeding on that crowd. We just had to dig in there and find a way.”

Mike Babcock changed up his lines a bit to open Game 4, moving Danny Cleary to the top trio, alongside Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen. The three nearly paid immediate dividends, as Datsyuk found Cleary in front of the net for a short-side opportunity that was stopped by Pekka Rinne. Cleary and Datsyuk also created another flurry 10 minutes into the game, and Detroit held an 8-3 shots edge during the first 11 minutes of play. Detroit also won 15 first period face-offs, which should also please the coach.


Nashville didn’t get many chances, but when they did, Jimmy Howard didn’t necessarily have to make the save. Like when Sergei Kostitsyn found Shea Weber streaking in by his lonesome during the second period, only to have Kyle Quincey poke check the puck away just in the nick of time. The Wings pre-trade deadline acquisition did it again later that same period, breaking up a Martin Erat pass to Gabriel Bourque, ending a potential Predators odd-man opportunity. Quincey also picked up an assist on Kronwall’s game-tying goal in the third period.

POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 4:05 PM ET

Here is Mike Babcock's Tuesday press conference.


Ken Kal goes behind the scenes with assistant coach and video guru Keith McKittrick in today's episode of Comerica Bank Game Day Preview.

POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 2:30 PM ET

Three things that could determine which way Game 4 will swing.

1) Maintain Calm
You don’t expect this team to panic, not with the veteran experience and the Stanley Cup rings in the room. Still, playing within oneself can’t be emphasized enough this time of year.

“You always draw on your past experiences and what you’ve learned from them,” said Jimmy Howard. “It’s about living in the moment. Just playing the game and not looking too far ahead or behind.”

2) Stay out of the box
The Red Wings have taken 19 minor penalties over the first three games. Sure, only one of those have come back to haunt them, but it isn’t a good habit to have.

“We’ve gotten into some penalty problems too early on in games and that hurts you,” Nick Lidstrom said. “It changes your pairing and your defensive lines quite a bit.”

3) Play better off the drop
There is no official stat for press conference quotes, but the guess here is that Mike Babcock has mentioned starting ‘off the drop’ or ‘on time’ more than anything else over the course of the 2011-12 season.

“I thought someone told me that it was like 80 percent of the time during the regular season when you score first, you win, so I don’t think that’s any different now,” Babcock said. “It’s a priority for everyone. You want to get started on time.”

The team that has scored the first goal has won the first three games of this series.

We asked fans on Twitter who they thought would step up throughout the rest of the series. Here are some of their responses.

“After much thought, I have decided that all of our players will step up during the final four games of the series. I think that everyone wants this championship so badly and they know that now is the time they need to shine. “
– Erica Howland

“I think Danny Cleary will step up. He always plays with such tenacity and heart despite the pain in his knees. He’s also been playing so well where it is only a matter of time before some of his pucks start going in the net. He’s a difference maker on our team, a guy who can play on any line and his contributions don’t go unnoticed.”
– Rachel Neuenfeldt

“I believe if (Niklas) Kronwall can get some good hits in, it will change the tempo of the game. I have a lot of faith in (Henrik) Zetterberg, and our new guy (Gustav) Nyquist too.”
– David Kemink, Grand Rapids

“The most clutch player is obviously Datsyuk. He is a leader, not a follower and he knows how to take control. He’s won two Stanley Cups before. He’s been here before and he knows what is at stake. He stepped up in Game 3, but I think he is going to take it to a whole new level to beat the Preds.”
– Brad Endrums

On Saturday, Kroger is teaming up with Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay to present Hockey Fest from 11AM-4PM at the Kroger Store on 10059 Highland Road in Hartland Township. Admission is free. In addition to Lindsay, fans can meet and mingle with other Red Wings Alumni, enjoy the ‘Legends of Hockey’ exhibit and enjoy interactive games, including the hardest shot.





1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69


H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80