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Puck possession is key vs. Sharks

Monday, 05.2.2011 / 1:34 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Puck possession is key vs. Sharks
DETROIT – Fewer penalties taken and more face-off wins.

These are some of the things that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock would like to see from his team as the Round 2 series with the San Jose Sharks changes locations with Games 3 and 4 at Joe Louis Arena later this week.

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The Sharks hold a 2-0 series lead over the Wings, who find themselves in this unenviable hole for the 10th time in team history following a playoff opening sweep.

“We have to lick our wounds … have the day off and get freshened up, and we’ll practice on Tuesday, and get ready to win the next game at home,” Babcock said.

After arriving back in Detroit in the early morning hours after Sunday’s 2-1 loss in Game 2, Monday was an off-day for the Wings with only a few players reporting to The Joe for treatment. The team will practice Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday’s pivotal Game 3.

Like Phoenix in the last series, the Sharks have put their power-play unit to good use, scoring two of their four goals in the first two games with the man-advantage. The Coyotes scored six power-play goals, something that definitely had Babcock concerned heading into this series.

But just as he did in the Coyotes series, Babcock is reluctant to blame the referees for the imbalance of penalties called during the two games in San Jose.

“That’s the way it is,” Babcock said. “We just have to find a way to keep battling to get involved and be as disciplined as we can. The penalties that I don’t like that we take are when we take the high-sticking ones and the sticks on the hands. To me those are freebies that you giveaway and you can’t take any of those.”

Another area of concern for the Wings is puck possession. The team that has the puck most often stays out of the penalty box, which is why winning face-off battles is paramount. The Sharks lead all playoff teams with a 54.7 face-off winning percentage.

“We have to be harder on pucks,” Babcock said. “We win D-zone face-offs, we have to execute on them and be harder on the puck in their zone. And the more of those 50-50 pucks you win the more you’re going to have the puck; both teams want the puck.”

Being down 0-2 to the Sharks is disappointing. It’s not an ideal position to be in – especially after sweeping the Coyotes in four straight games. But the Wings understand that they must win the next two games at home before thinking about taking a game at HP Pavilion, something the Wings have done once in the last seven trips to the Bay Area.

“We still have to steal a game (in San Jose) and we understand that,” Babcock said. “Being frustrated is a waste of time. At times you’re frustrated, but that’s a waste of energy. Just get on with it.”

Some think that the Sharks, who defeated Detroit in a five-game series last spring, have gotten into the Wings’ collective psyche.

“I don’t know about getting into your head,” Babcock said. “When they beat you, they beat you. I think our belief in ourself and our plan and our execution we have, I don’t question it what’s so ever. But the bottom line is, we came into their building and they won two games, 2-1.

“Now we’re going home. We’ll have our crowd. Now we have to do something.”

HISTORY BOOK: In their history, the Red Wings have come back to win a playoff round five times when faced with a 0-2 series deficit. The most recent occurred in 2002 when the Wings rebounded with four straight victories in a Western Conference quarterfinals series win over the Vancouver Canucks.

The Wings are 5-21 in all-time playoff rounds when they've lost the first two games of a series.

Here are the five series wins with the number of games it took to decide the outcome of each (in parentheses):

1945 – Stanley Cup semifinals vs. Boston (7)
1963 – Stanley Cup semifinals vs. Chicago (6)
1987 – Norris Division finals vs. Toronto (7)
1992 – Norris Division semifinals vs. Minnesota North Stars (7)
2002 – Western Conference quarterfinals vs. Vancouver (6)

HOLMER BOUND: Sunday’s Game 2 in San Jose was career playoff game No. 170 for forward Tomas Holmstrom. He surpassed former Wing Kirk Maltby for fourth-place on the Wings’ all-time postseason list.

Holmstrom, who has scored 44 goals and 49 assists with a +31-rating in 14 playoff seasons, trails only Nicklas Lidstrom (253), Kris Draper (218), and Steve Yzerman (196) for most playoff games played in franchise history.


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HOME
AWAY
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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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