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Two-game edge gives Wings breathing room

Wednesday, 05.20.2009 / 11:27 AM ET / News
By Brian Compton  - NHL.com Staff Writer
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Two-game edge gives Wings breathing room
DETROIT -- The Red Wings know they can win in any building. That knowledge didn't stop them from breathing a collective sigh of relief Tuesday night when Mikael Samuelsson gave them a 2-0 series lead in the Western Conference finals.

Samuelsson's game-winning tally at 5:14 of overtime in Game 2 at Joe Louis Arena cemented Detroit's 3-2 win and allowed the Red Wings to avoid a split heading into Chicago, where the series resumes Friday night. It's no secret just how electrifying the United Center can be -- which is arguably the biggest reason why the Red Wings are thrilled to be up two games.

"It's a lot better than 1-1," Wings forward Johan Franzen said. "I think they played a better game tonight. They're probably going to bring it even more in their building, so we've got to be ready."

The Blackhawks were ready for Game 2, and got off to another quick start when Jonathan Toews scored on the power play midway through the first period. Chicago forced overtime when Toews erased a 2-1 deficit with 7:40 to play in regulation.

But a costly turnover by Brian Campbell at his own blue line in overtime led to a 3-on-1 the other way, and Samuelsson made it a miserable ride home for Chicago when he beat Nikolai Khabibulin from the slot.

"They played pretty well ... real well, actually," said forward Valtteri Filppula, who fed Samuelsson on the game-winner. "It was a really close game. I think it's going to be the same way when we go into Chicago. I'm really happy that it's 2-0 right now. That's a tough place to play. It's a good thing we're two up."

As tough as it is, several of the Red Wings are excited to have the opportunity to play a playoff game in the Windy City. It's been 14 years since these teams last met in the Western Conference Finals.

"It's going to be a great atmosphere in Chicago," Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "It's always good games when you go and play there. It's been a while since the Wings and Chicago have played playoff games in Chicago. It's the first for me, and I'm looking forward to it."

Considering the short time between series -- Detroit clinched Round 2 against the Anaheim Ducks with a Game 7 victory last Thursday -- Wings coach Mike Babcock is thrilled that this series doesn't resume until Friday. According to Babcock, his team is in desperate need of a day off, which it will receive Wednesday. The Wings will skate at Joe Louis Arena Thursday before heading to Chicago.

"We need two days (off) in between games so bad it's not even funny, just to re-energize," Babcock said. "I didn't think we had any legs or any pop whatsoever, right through our lineup. I thought it was very evident right from the get-go.

"This is a team that's going to be very difficult to put away. They're determined and they're skilled."



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80