Notebook: Datsyuk wants more traffic
Wings' forward says his team needs changes for Game 3
The Red Wings’ leading scorer in the playoffs said that the Wings haven’t seen anything new from the Sharks’ defensive schemes, just that his own team needs to execute better.
“It’s no difference,” Datsyuk said. “It’s us. We need to change it.”
Through the first two games of the Western Conference Semifinals, the Red Wings have only been able to generate two goals. At the same time, they have been out-shot 81-59.
Datsyuk has set up both of the Wings' goals in the series with passes to Nicklas Lidstrom in Game 1, and Henrik Zetterberg in Game 2. He leads the team in postseason scoring with eight points in six games.
“We need more, make traffic,” Datsyuk said. “They so far have it a little easy to play with us, we need more traffic and more shooting to net - go to net.”
Because of the Wings’ low shooting percentage, Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi has become one of the focal points of the series. Through two games, Niemi has a save percentage of .966, and a clean 1.00 goals-against average.
Defenseman Niklas Kronwall says those stats are misleading.
“We’re not testing him enough,” Kronwall said. “He’s a great goaltender, but he hasn’t been tested enough yet. That’s something we have to do better.”
To get more pucks to the goal - and more pucks past Niemi – the Wings will be focused on getting more bodies in red jerseys towards the San Jose goal.
“We’ve had some shots, but we haven’t had any traffic,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We need to be there for the rebounds and second chances and create more traffic in front of him. I think we can do a much better job of getting pucks there, but having people there as well.”
Forward Mike Modano, who has not played since Game 4 of the Wings’ first-round series against Phoenix, credited the Sharks’ team-defense for their success in the first two games.
“These guys are good,” Modano said. “There are five guys back everywhere. Any time you look at the TV, there’s five guys in the neutral zone, there’s five guys around their net and Niemi, so there’s a lot of traffic, a lot of bodies flying around at different times all over the rink. They’re playing in groups of five really well.
“They’re taking time and space away. We’ve always been a team, these guys here, as much talent as there is, if you give them time they’ll make you pay for it. [The Sharks] really good at that area right now.”
Lidstrom said that as the Wings head into a crucial Game 3 on Wednesday, they cannot let their outlook waver.
“You’ve got to play with confidence,” the Wings’ captain said. “You can’t be uptight, you have to continue to play with confidence and make plays when they’re there. When they’re not there, you have to get the puck in deep and you’ve got to work. It’s going to take a lot of hard work for our team.”
LINE-UP CHANGES: Kris Draper told the media that he would be playing for Game 3, but Babcock announced that no official line-up changes have been decided on for Wednesday’s contest.
The Wings’ lines during practice were as follows:
Zetterberg – Cleary – Bertuzzi
Datsyuk – Franzen – Holmstrom - Modano
Abdelkader – Hudler – Filppula
Helm – Draper – Eaves – Miller
Lidstrom – Stuart
Kronwall – Salei
Ericsson – Kindl
Janik – Meech
Defenseman Brian Rafalski did not skate at today’s practice.
PROBABLY NO FOR MO: Modano said that he does not expect to play in Game 3. During drills, Modano was subbing in on Datsyuk’s line, but not frequently.
“Going off today’s practice, doesn’t look like it,” the veteran forward said.