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Loss means Wings need help Saturday

Devils' Brodeur wins for just the second time in his career at JLA

Thursday, 04.5.2012 / 11:34 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Loss means Wings need help Saturday
New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur stopped 23 shots to post just his second career win at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
DETROIT – With a win over the New Jersey Devils Thursday night, and a loss by Nashville, the Red Wings could have sewn up the No. 4 seed, which carries with it home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Unfortunately, neither portion of the equation panned out for the Wings, who dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Devils, while Nashville blanked the Dallas Stars, 2-0.
 
“It’s still important, you want to finish as high as you can, you want to take advantage of the home-ice if you can, but if that doesn’t happen,” Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said, “you know that you have to play well on the road to have success, and that’s something that you have to do, so you’re still trying to finish as high as you can.”

With one game remaining, it’s still possible that the Wings can finish in the fourth, fifth or sixth playoff spot in the Western Conference standings. However, a win over Chicago in Saturday’s season finale at JLA, coupled with a Predators loss in regulation at Colorado is the Wings’ lone chance of securing the No. 4 seed.

“Starting at home and also having that seventh one at home with this crowd, obviously that would be big deal,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “But I think the main focus for us right now is we have to play for 60-minutes a night to win games. That would be our main focus.”

With the exception of Tomas Holmstrom’s power-play goal in the second period Thursday, the Wings couldn’t scrape together a complete, solid performance against the Devils and perennial All-Star goalie Martin Brodeur.

The Wings made life easy for Broduer, who stopped 23 shots in winning for just the second time at Joe Louis Arena during his illustrious NHL career. Detroit had won nine in a row at home against the Devils, dating back to Nov. 6, 1996.

“I didn't think they generated much and I didn't think we generated much, but that's what I expected before the game started,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I knew it was going to be grinder right from the get-go. We were stretched last night to overtime and I thought we really pushed our big players hard last night. … I was hoping for more out of my bottom six, more o-zone time and grind time to kind of buy some time for those other guys and that never happened.”

Trailing 1-0 in the second period, the Wings pulled even when Jiri Hudler made a terrific heads-up play to tie the score. After taking a pass from Valtteri Filppula, Hudler skated in on Brodeur, drawing the Devils’ goalie out of the crease. Once he had Brodeur committed and out of position Hudler made a cross-ice pass to Holmstrom, who had an open net to shot at.

The Wings managed just four shots on goal in the final 20-minutes Thursday. It was the 13th time that Detroit’s offense has been held to one or no goals this season. And since blistering Columbus for seven goals last week, the Wings have scored a total of seven goals in regulation in the last five games.

“I don’t think we’re getting the puck to the net as much,” Lidstrom said. “I think we have the shots, but we’re not getting the puck there and with traffic for rebounds and some of the second chances. Some of the chances we’re one and done, we take the shot and they’re going the other way with it.”

Thursday loss was disappointing particular since it came in the heels of Wednesday’s incredible 3-2 shootout win at St. Louis in which the team bounced back from a 2-0 deficit.

“We had a couple of games where I thought we played stronger and it felt like we were going,” Lidstrom said. “Then last night we had a real strong effort in St. Louis where we came from behind to get two-points in a shootout, and tonight I don’t think we had that much gas. We had it in bits and pieces, but not for the whole game, so we’re not quite where we want to be heading into the playoffs and we have one more game before everything starts.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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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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