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Notebook: It's a crucial week for Wings

Three-game western trip can make or break playoff hopes

Sunday, 03.14.2010 / 12:06 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Notebook: It\'s a crucial week for Wings
DETROIT – This week features what likely will be the Red Wings most important road trip of the season.

It begins Monday with a visit to Calgary for a crucial game between two teams fighting for a Western Conference playoff berth. The Wings then have three days to rest before games against Edmonton and Vancouver on Friday and Saturday.

On the bright side, the Wings head into Calgary with a new level of confidence. Brian Rafalski’s overtime goal on Saturday against Buffalo gave the Wings their fifth win in seven games since the Olympic break. The win moved Detroit into eighth place in the standings.

“We needed this one, big time,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We needed the second point, that’s all there is to it. Any way you win makes you feel better and allows your confidence to grow.”

The Wings hope to use that confidence to beat the Flames on Monday, after their main competition for a playoff spot came to Joe Louis Arena last Tuesday and stole a 4-2 win.

“Every point is crucial here,” Rafalski said. “Obviously going into Calgary on Monday could decide the playoffs, so we want to make sure we got the points here.”

Throughout the course of the season, Babcock and the Wings have been saying that they needed to play well for an entire game, and not have any letdowns in any period. It has appeared that the Wings managed to do that in their last two outings against Minnesota and Buffflo, but Rafalski warned that looking at past games won’t benefit them at this point.

“It’s good, but it doesn’t mean anything if we come out and play a full 60 minutes on Monday,” Rafalski said. “That’s our focus, the next game, that’s all we can do. We can’t standings-watch, we got to go out and play the best we can every night, and that has to be our focus with 15 games to go.”

Much of the Wings’ recent success can be attributed to their special teams play. Rafalski’s OT goal stretched the Wings’ streak of scoring a power-play goal to nine straight games, and the Wings haven’t allowed a goal while shorthanded since their 6-2 loss against Vancouver on March 3.

Babcock said that the return of injured players Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall and Jason Williams have helped the power play tremendously.

“I think (special teams) been huge, and I think our penalty kill has gotten better and better and better as the year’s gone on,” Babcock said. “The guys do a real good job of blocking shots, they’re playing well in those situations. The power play since Mule has come back and since Kronwall and Williams have come back, we just have so much more depth, and it’s made it a lot easier for us to generate offense.”




SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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