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Notebook: Wings aren't looking over shoulder

Monday, 03.14.2011 / 4:29 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor |
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Notebook: Wings aren\'t looking over shoulder
DETROIT – Every remaining game will have resounding implications on how seeding will pan out for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs, particularly in the Western Conference, where five points separates seven teams.

The Red Wings have 13 games remaining in the regular-season, and currently have a pretty comfortable seat in the No. 2 spot with 90 points, even though Chicago is in the rearview mirror with 82 points.

But don’t think the Red Wings’ players are looking over their shoulders.

“I think our focus the whole year has been about what we are doing,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “It’s never going to be what the other teams do. We all know that we have the ability in here and it has to come from within.

“If we can put everything together, and pay attention to the details, and focus on those things that we want to be doing, then I think we’re in good shape, no matter what the other teams are doing.”

Beginning the month with four straight losses wasn’t ideal, but after wins over Edmonton and St. Louis on back-to-back nights were huge for the Wings, who finish the season with eight games at Joe Louis Arena.

Picking up four points, especially against the Oilers and Blues, who are on the outside of the playoff picture, was a confidence boast.

“We got a bit of a break Friday night against Edmonton, but I thought we created some of the breaks, too, by working hard, shooting the pucks and getting to the net,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “In the Blues game, once they tied it up, I thought we settled down and just starting playing again. We got on the back of our heels at the start of the third period, but once we started playing again, I thought we started playing with that confidence again.”

The week ahead will present yet another interesting test for the Wings, who will play three games in four days, starting with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

“Washington is another one of those Eastern Conference teams that is fun to play,” Kronwall said. “They have a great lineup with a lot of talent, and a lot of offensive ability. They’ve been playing really well as of late, so it will be a big challenge for us.”

The Caps’ power-play has been woeful, this season, lingering toward the bottom of the league rankings, but the recent acquisitions of center Jason Arnott and defenseman Dennis Wideman has provided some improvement. In seven games with the Caps, the veteran duo has combined for two goals and seven assists and a plus-12 rating.

“It’s another good addition to their PP,” Kronwall said. “I don’t know if (Mike) Green is back playing, or not, but obviously getting Wideman in there is good for them. They have so much depth. They have (Alex) Ovechkin, who can do pretty much anything on his own, and it will be a big challenge for us.”

THREE-POINTER: For the first time this season, Kronwall posted a three-point night with a goal and two assists in the Wings’ 5-3 win over the Blues. His last just performance came over a year ago when he scored twice and added an assist in a 9-1 win at Columbus on Nov. 11, 2009.

“It’s big for us anytime that the defense can help out with the scoring,” Kronwall said. “Obviously, it helps to get some load off of the rest of the guys, definitely. I think the way we play the game, we try to get everyone involved, and be active.

“It was just one of those nights when the bounces go your way. I mean, I of them was a rim, and the other was a pass off the board, and Abbie made a great play there to put it in the net. Even the goal hit one of their guys and Homer did a great job in front. So, Wednesday night might be someone else.”

OZZIE ACTIVATED: The Red Wings activated veteran goalie Chris Osgood from injured reserve. He has missed 27 games since undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia.

“I’m as close as I can get now,” said Osgood, of returning to game action. “I feel real good. I don’t know when I will play, but keep practicing hard and be ready. My goal is to be ready for the playoffs and get my games in.”

Following Monday’s practice at JLA, coach Mike Babcock indicated that Osgood and defenseman Brian Rafalski (lower back) are available to return to the line-up. But the coach would not say whether one or both of his veterans will play this week.

“It doesn’t matter,” said Osgood, when asked when he might play. “I don’t have a number at all. I have to play, I’m ready to play.”

Forward Patrick Eaves (sprained knee) skated with the Wings again on Monday, but remains day-to-day.

“I’m getting there,” he said. “I’m getting the conditioning back up there and getting to the pace.”





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


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
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
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