May 11, 2011
One step at a time for Red Wings
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
As they sat in their dressing room in the Joe Louis Arena, noodling over a loss in Game 3 that had them behind 3-0 in the Western Conference semifinal, the Detroit Red Wings vowed not to throw in the towel.
Here they are back at the HP Pavilion for a deciding Game 7 Thursday after pulling off three consecutive victories over the San Jose Sharks with the season on the line.
"We talked about (being behind 3-0). We talked about not being able to look at the big picture because it's tough coming back from being down 3-0," Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.
"We had to break it down, whether it was a game at a time or even a period at a time. You focus on just trying to work hard and hopefully things will work out for you. It makes it easier to approach rather than looking at the whole big picture of, 'We have to win four straight games.' When you break it down and focus on that, it makes it a lot easier."
The Wings approach was simple: "Why not us?"
Goalie Jimmy Howard said the key for the Wings was nobody was in a panic when they were down 3-0.
"I don't think you would've believed it if you came here and saw it after it was 3-0," Howard said. "It was loose, joking around, people laughing and being themselves. I think that's key when you dig yourself into that sort of hole. You don't hang your head. You pull up yourself and get to work."
Naturally, the Wings know they can make history with a victory in Game 7. Only three teams in NHL history have come back from being down 3-0 to win a series. The Wings would have no issues with being the fourth.
"It's not going to be easy," Lidstrom said. "We're going to have to show up (Thursday) to get away with a win. You can't think about (making history). Your focus has got to be the same approach we had in the last three games.
"We're one win away from moving on, but we're also one loss away from not playing anymore in the playoffs. We know what's at stake."
But the Wings are here and there is a chance Johan Franzen could return from an ankle injury.
"We'll be on this flight for about five and a half hours," coach Mike Babcock told reporters Wednesday before leaving Detroit. "We'll kick everything around. If Franzen is lobbying (to play) we'll listen to that.
"We'll try to make the right decisions, and the only way you know if you made the right decisions is if you win."