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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 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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