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Bittersweet experience for Red Wings

Sunday, 10.4.2009 / 11:49 AM ET / News
By Dan Rosen  - NHL.com Senior Writer
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Bittersweet experience for Red Wings
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Bittersweet is the only way to describe it.

The Red Wings came here with eight Swedes hoping to make a lasting impression on the people in their own country. They brought NHL hockey, the best in the world, back home to Sweden and planned to put on a show while enjoying the week.

Oh, they enjoyed the week and it will never be forgotten, but the Red Wings boarded their charter flight bound for Detroit late Saturday night without a victory against the St. Louis Blues in the 2009 NHL Premiere-Stockholm.

They blew two-goal leads both nights and lost 4-3 Friday, and 5-3 Saturday. Needless to say, that was not on their list of things to do in Stockholm.

"It's real bad," Tomas Holmstrom, who is from the northern city of Pitea, told NHL.com. "We're really disappointed with the way we played."

Not all was lost this week though.

The eight Swedes got to see friends and family they normally never see in the months of October through June. They also got to show their other teammates from the U.S., Canada, Finland and Russia what their culture is all about.

Henrik Zetterberg was a hit wherever he went. Nicklas Lidstrom was named an ambassador of Dalarna County, where he's from. Both were cheered like the national icons they are every time they touched the puck in the first period of Friday's game.

"It's been a great experience, almost a dream come true to make a trip like this with the Wings," Lidstrom told NHL.com. "It has been somewhat of a hectic week, but a fun week with having a chance to catch up with some old friends and having a chance to play in front of the fans here in Stockholm. I thought it was a great atmosphere in the rink."

Sellouts both nights, the 13,850 in the Globe Arena cheered loudly for the Wings, who just couldn't deliver the goods or go home with what they came here for in the first place.

"Yeah, but also overall it was a great week for us," Zetterberg said. "We had a lot of fun here. It's something we'll always remember that we came back here to play in front of friends and family by bringing our team back here. Unfortunately we couldn't win any games, but it was fun to be here for sure."

It won't be so much fun when they touch down in Detroit early Sunday morning local time. The Red Wings already have some catching up to do in what will undoubtedly be a tight Central Division race.

Their defense and penalty killing, both points of emphasis all preseason after being bones of contention all last season, weren't very good. The Blues were 4-for-9 on the power play this weekend and scored nine goals on 55 shots.

"We should be able to win games 2-1 or 2-0," Holmstrom said. "We shouldn't have to score five goals all the time to win a game."

The Red Wings power play was 2-for-10, which doesn't look terrible until you consider that they failed on a 5-on-3 for 1:36 on Friday night and couldn't get more than four shots on goal in six minutes of power-play time in the first period on Saturday.

An extra power-play goal in either of the games and Detroit might have at least earned a split here or possibly even taken home a pair of wins.

"Absolutely, but at the same time we have to play better hockey over 60 minutes," Stockholm-native Niklas Kronwall said. "Sure, a power-play goal here and there might have changed the outcome, but we're not happy with the way we played over 60 minutes and that's the bottom line. We have to do a better job at that."

They probably will. These are, after all, the Detroit Red Wings and before we get too ahead of ourselves, they still have 80 games left to play.

It's way, way too early to worry, but this much-anticipated trip may not be something they want to discuss for a while.

"I had a great time coming here and it's always fun to play here at the Globe, at home in front of family and friends, but we were hoping to give them a lot better showing," Kronwall said. "It was awesome to be here, but we just didn't win the games we were here to win. It's bittersweet memories."






Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Staff Writer

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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 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59