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Wings need a 'full 60 minutes'

No. 2 seed is still up for grabs with two games to go

Friday, 04.8.2011 / 2:28 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Wings need a \'full 60 minutes\'
DETROIT – The regular-season concludes this weekend with a home-and-home series against Chicago. And for the Red Wings, who are headed to their unprecedented 20th straight Stanley Cup playoffs appearance, they can control whether the archrival Blackhawks continue to play in April.

When the smoke clears Sunday evening, the Wings will be either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed, but the Blackhawks do not have the luxury of feeling as comfortable. If the playoffs started today, Chicago would hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Yet the Dallas Stars are only two points behind Chicago, which means if the Blackhawks struggle this weekend, summer will start very early for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

When a reporter asked Wings goalie Jimmy Howard if there was some extra motivation for the final two games knowing that the Wings could end their rivals’ season, he joked that maybe the Wings would want to let Chicago make the playoffs.

Then, on a more serious note, he said that the important thing is the Wings preparing themselves for the playoffs, and not worrying about another team’s fortunes.

“It’s going to be another hard game tonight,” Howard said. “They need to win, and we need to match their intensity for a full 60 minutes. I thought we did a great job the other day against Carolina in the first period, and then in the second and third we started turning pucks over and it bit us a little bit.

“Tonight, we have to concentrate on ourselves, a full 60 minutes of intensity, making sure we get pucks out at our blue line and in at theirs so it’s tough on their D.”

The Blackhawks will secure a playoff spot by earning at least a point tonight and the Stars fail to do the same at Colorado.

Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom pointed out that the Wings are keeping an eye on the standings for their benefit, not necessarily for the Blackhawks. Detroit is one point behind second-place San Jose.

“It’s more a matter of playing well heading into the playoffs,” he said. “When you’re playing you want to win, you want to win the games, we want to move up in the standings too, to try to get the second spot, so I think our focus is to play well and win games in the last couple games that are left.”

The Wings will need help from Phoenix if they want to catch San Jose in the standings. The Sharks have a home-and-home with the Coyotes to conclude their season.

Darren Helm said the Wings aren’t concerning themselves with Chicago’s situation, because they plan to use these last two games to prepare for the competitiveness that lies ahead.

“We’ve been struggling a little bit lately to find our game,” Helm said. “I think that’s our main focus right now, just finding our game, finding a way to put a full 60 together and going into the playoffs on a positive note, knowing that we figured out how to play Red Wings’ hockey.

“We’ve played a lot of teams that are fighting for spots or for their playoff lives, and we haven’t responded quite the way we need to. Being a rival, like Chicago is, hopefully we’ll find a way to get focused, get motivated, and just realize what’s really at stake here. We have to play better hockey, it should have started a month ago, but we’ve got two games left here to get things going and go into the playoffs, we’ve got a good chance, a good opportunity ahead, so we’ve got to get these things fixed.”
 

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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