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Waiting Game

Wings have week off before conference semis begin

Thursday, 04.21.2011 / 7:00 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Waiting Game
ROMULUS, Mich. – After eliminating the Phoenix Coyotes in four straight games of their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals series, the Red Wings will spend Easter weekend away from the rink.

The team returned to Detroit late Thursday afternoon and plans to practice Friday morning at Joe Louis Arena. They’ll take Saturday and Sunday off before getting back to work next week with a planning eye toward whomever it is they’ll play in the second round.

This is the 12th time in the past 16 playoff seasons that the Wings have reached the conference semifinals.

But the immediate key for the Wings is getting a pair of the league’s all-time best career playoff-performers healthy again and back in service.

Henrik Zetterberg has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury in the final week of the regular-season at Carolina. However, he skated each day in Arizona, and the coaching staff is confident that in all likelihood they will have him back for Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Johan Franzen missed Game 4 with a lower body injury. The decision to hold him out of the lineup came after pre-game warm-ups Wednesday at Jobing.com Arena. The NHL’s sixth best active player in points per game average (.923), Franzen has always been a beast come playoff time for the Wings.

Franzen is one spot behind Zetterberg (.938) on the NHL’s all-time points per playoff game list. Franzen scored two goals and added an assist in the first three games of the Phoenix series, so the Wings definitely hope that the extra 8-9 days of rest will help the mending process.

“We have a few guys that can really use the time off, and the extra time with the medical trainers,” Wings forward Drew Miller said. “So we’ll get back and see what our schedule looks like, but definitely we’re really happy with our win in the series and looking forward to the next one.”

As far as determining their next opponent, the possibilities are down to four teams: San Jose, Anaheim, Nashville or Chicago. The Wings won’t play the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks nor Los Angeles in the second round.

Here’s how each Round 2 scenario can play out for the Wings:
 
1. Detroit will play the winner of the Nashville/Anaheim series if: Vancouver defeats Chicago and Los Angeles defeats San Jose OR if San Jose beats Los Angeles and Chicago beats Vancouver.

2. Detroit will face San Jose if: Vancouver beats Chicago. (the outcome of Nashville/Anaheim won’t matter).

3. Detroit will play Chicago if: Los Angeles defeats San Jose. (the outcome of Nashville/Anaheim won’t matter).

However the other Western series pan out, the Wings learned one important lesson from going seven-games with Phoenix in their opening round: reach four wins as soon as possible … and rest.

“You know, winning the other night and putting ourselves up 3-0 we knew they were going to come out with a strong effort and play their best game – and I thought they did to – but we really wanted to win (Wednesday) and not have to go back and play a fifth game in Detroit,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We put ourselves into a great position in the third period, by going in tied, and them having the pressure to win. I thought we stayed patient, stayed within our game plan. We did get some lucky bounces on the goals we scored there late in the game, but I thought we earned some too by working hard.”

Follow Bill Roose on twitter: @RooseBill




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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
4 TBL 50 28 18 4 131 115 60
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 49 25 17 7 126 122 57
10 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
11 CAR 52 23 21 8 124 138 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 53 20 28 5 133 167 45

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 50 17 18 23 35
H. Zetterberg 51 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 50 14 16 -3 30
G. Nyquist 51 14 13 -4 27
J. Abdelkader 51 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 36 6 18 10 24
M. Green 45 3 17 -8 20
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
D. DeKeyser 47 6 8 10 14
R. Sheahan 50 7 6 -15 13
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 18 10 4 .931 2.06
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89