Do-or-die is nothing new to Wings

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:32 PM ET


 So you think Cujo and the rest of those long-in-the-tooth Hockeytown dogs are ready to be put down?

 Think again.

 The Red Wings have seen it all en route to rolling to three Stanley Cups in the past seven seasons. Among the scenarios seen and conquered was facing elimination much like tonight against the Flames, only to come back to snatch the series out of their opponent's hands.

 Two years ago, the Wings beat Colorado 2-0 in Denver in Game 6 of the Western Conference final before winning Game 7 at home by a rather convincing 7-0 margin and carrying on to claim the Cup.

 "Well ... we're not supposed to be average people and so we expect an above-average effort from above-average athletes on an above-average team," veteran winger Brendan Shanahan declared yesterday to the assembled press in Detroit.

 "We fully expect to go into Calgary, win that game, come back for a Game 7 and win here."

 And Shanahan's not alone in his conviction there are more Cups in this Wings squad, despite being one loss from elimination tonight.

 Wings head coach Dave Lewis, an assistant under Scotty Bowman until the team's 2002 Cup win, has seen this team take control of a series when seemingly cornered.

 "We were in the same position a couple of years ago heading into Colorado for Game 6," Lewis cautions.

 "So we have to have the mentality that you have to win that game. Anything can happen in Game 7 but you have to get to Game 7.

 "It's a matter of will. It's a matter of capitalizing -- things like that. It's a big game and you're hoping that our big players play big in a big game. That's sort of what's got them to the status that they've accomplished over their career."

 Right-winger Darren McCarty remembers the Game 6 win two years ago in Colorado before rolling over the Avalanche back home in the series finale.

 "It's sort of what we've lived before," nodded McCarty, proud owner of three Stanley Cup rings earned during the run that has also won his club unending praise from the rest of the NHL.

 "In situations like this, it's nice to know when we've been pushed, we're able to improve.

 "It was a pretty daunting challenge to go in and win Game 6 in Colorado and then it worked out well. It can be done. We have the experience here."

 McCarty also shoots down a popular notion the greying Wings have enjoyed so much success they've lost the intangible that allows teams to find another gear when common sense suggests they're beaten.

 "I can honestly tell you that you have a bigger drive to win the Stanley Cup after you've won it before," McCarty insists.

 "You want it. Just knowing what the accomplishment is all about is enough."


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