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Former Wings having fun in Phoenix

Tuesday, 04.27.2010 / 12:23 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Former Wings having fun in Phoenix
DETROIT – As the youthful Phoenix Coyotes prepare for a decisive Game 7 Tuesday night, they will be leaning on a pair of former Red Wings.

Forward Robert Lang and defenseman Mathieu Schneider spent parts of three and four seasons in Detroit, respectively. Now, they both play the role of seasoned veteran on an inexperienced roster hoping for their franchise’s first playoff series win since 1987.

In the Coyotes’ Game 6 victory, Schneider scored a power-play goal that gave them a 2-0 lead, while Lang set up Radim Vrbata’s power-play goal that gave them another two-goal cushion, 3-1.

Phoenix coach Dave Tippett revealed a nickname for Schneider and Lang when he was asked about their contributions on the power play.

“The Old Timers,” Tippett said with a laugh. “Those guys have played on a few power plays in their life, so they’ve got some experience there, and we’re relying on both those guys in that department. I thought both of them, even though they’re not playing big minutes for us right now; they’re both playing smart minutes. Schneider’s giving us some poise on the blue line, and Robert Lang, he’s been a great player for a long time.”

Schneider understands that he and Lang have a responsibility to lead the young Coyotes in Game 7.

“A lot of guys here haven’t been in this situation and I think it’s up to guys like myself and Lang to keep things a little calm,” the veteran defenseman said. “But it’s an exciting time, and we’re looking forward to going home. Winner takes all.”

Defenseman Keith Yandle said the former Red Wings have helped relax the locker room in pressure situations.

“Those two guys, they bring a sense of calm, cool, collectiveness to our team when they’re playing,” Yandle said. “They really know how to slow the game down, and they’ve been doing it a lot of years - they’re really good at it.”

Despite being on the same team for the past two seasons, Game 6 was the first time the two former Wings played together over that span. Both were members of the Montreal Canadiens last season, and Schneider was traded from the Vancouver Canucks to Phoenix on March 3, yet injuries and healthy scratches prevented them from playing at the same time.

“He was hurt last year in Montreal, and this year we haven’t played together until …  that was our first night,” Schneider said. “We joke about that, but for us, it’s so much fun. We really enjoy it. It’s not just about coming back in here, but we’ve been good friends and teammates for a long time.”
Lang said it was easy to reconnect with Schneider on the ice.

“I think every time you have somebody you have a good history together, it’s kind of easier, and you know, you just have fun,” he said. “(Game 6) could have been the last game of the season, and you just want to make sure everybody enjoys it. What happens happens. Play hard and enjoy it. It’s a fun game.”

Coyotes fans don’t need to be concerned about the two having mixed emotions heading into Game 7, however. Both said they enjoyed playing for the Wings, but the main thing on their minds is advancing to the second round.

“We always had really good memories,” Lang said. “So every time you come here, I love playing here, it’s always been good, fans have always been great. Do we want to beat them? Of course. We’re not going to lie. Of course you want to beat them.”



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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
11 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
12 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 54 18 20 25 38
H. Zetterberg 55 10 28 5 38
T. Tatar 54 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 55 14 16 -1 30
P. Datsyuk 40 9 21 14 30
J. Abdelkader 55 14 15 -2 29
M. Green 47 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 41 5 11 6 16
D. DeKeyser 51 7 8 12 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 5 .933 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89