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Wings are first defenders to move on since '02

Wednesday, 04.29.2009 / 1:38 PM ET / News
The Canadian Press
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Wings are first defenders to move on since \'02

DETROIT - The Red Wings became the first defending Stanley Cup champion to advance in the playoffs in seven years.

"We're not going to have a parade, but we feel good about it," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Friday night in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. "Make no mistake, the reason no one has done it in such a long time is because it's difficult. After you win the Cup, you play with a target on your back.

"We were fortunate enough to get engaged at the right time and to come out of it fairly healthy for the next series. It's a fun time of the year to still be playing."

The Red Wings finished off a sweep against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night, winning a series on the road for the eighth straight time.

The second-seeded team in the Western Conference might have an entire week off before hosting a second-round game.

Detroit will play the Vancouver Canucks if the top-seeded San Jose Sharks rally to eliminate Anaheim. If the eighth-seeded Ducks hold off San Jose, they will face the Red Wings.

Anaheim leads the Sharks 3-1, heading into Saturday night's game in San Jose. Third-seeded Vancouver has been idle since sweeping the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

"Suddenly, you've only got eight teams," Babcock said Thursday night after eliminating Columbus with a 6-5 win in Game 4. "Our fans in Detroit, they expect a lot more. But to me you've already taken a significant step."

The Red Wings allowed their players to rest Friday, but Babcock, general manager Ken Holland and assistant GM Jim Nill didn't take the day off.

Nill drove Babcock and Holland to Grand Rapids, Mich., to watch their minor leaguers play the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL playoffs.

"We're going to get at least a few days at home, so this gives us a chance to watch our guys play," Babcock said.

Detroit planned to practice Saturday without knowing who it will play next.

The Colorado Avalanche were the most recent NHL team to win at least one playoff round after hoisting the Stanley Cup, losing to the Red Wings in the 2002 Western Conference finals.

Detroit was knocked out in the first round of the 2003 playoffs and the following four champions - New Jersey, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Anaheim - all failed to put up much of a fight after winning the Cup.

The Devils, Lightning and Ducks all had first-round exits as defending champions and the Hurricanes didn't make it to the playoffs.
 

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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