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
MEET TED LINDSAY AT KROGER
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.