Red Wings think they've found weakness in Ducks
Detroit, Anaheim down to a best-of-three series
MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency
|Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller makes a save on Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg during Game 4 of their NHL Western Conference quarterfinal at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, May 6, 2013. (REBECCA COOK/Reuters)
DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings left the Motor City Tuesday feeling pretty good about themselves a mere 48 hours after they felt like crap.
On Saturday, the Anaheim Ducks laid a 4-0 drubbing on the Wings.
But Monday, Damien Brunner, who was a big reason for that horrible feeling two nights earlier, reversed the tide of misfortune with an overtime goal to give the Wings a 3-2 win.
The Wings hope he turned the series around. They head out to Anaheim for Game 5 of the NHL Western Conference quarterfinal final tied 2-2.
While the Ducks now feel exposed, the Wings are concentrating on what they can do well.
They have shortened the series, putting the pressure squarely on the Ducks.
“That’s been the whole talk. Coach has been saying that, that we’re making this a best of three series,” said Wings defenceman Brendan Smith. “All of us have been saying that. It was a must-win for us. There’s times that we could have been better but ultimately I thought we played a really solid game (Monday). We’re going to work those other kinks out and come into Anaheim and try to get the first win of the best-of-three.”
Apart from winning Game 4, the Wings believe they identified a weakness in the Ducks.
Detroit occupied Anaheim’s crease a lot in Game 4 and caused all sorts of grief for goalie Jonas Hiller. It was the major difference between Game 3 and 4.
And now the Wings’ younger players are beginning to believe they can compete with the No. 2 seeds. It’s essential that confidence continues to build, because the Wings’ older players simply can’t carry the team a full 60 minutes every game.
As good as Pavel Datsyuk was in Game 4, he struggled in Game 3 as did Henrik Zetterberg.
“(Datsyuk) wasn't near as good or didn't have the energy the night before (in Game 3),” said Wings coach Mike Babcock. “Z was okay in Game 3, but they've been way better in Games 2 and 4 (both Red Wings wins) than in the other games.
“We need them to be great. When we travel this time (for Game 5), we need them to be good.”
It’s why the solid play of the young players is so important.
“I think you got a few games now under your feet. You’ve got your feet wet and you start going at it that way,” Babcock said. “The first few games you’re pretty nervous and it is hard to adapt. Now you see guys getting used to it and playing their game. That’s what got us here. Ultimately, it is helping us out.”
That’s why the longer this series goes the better it is for the Wings. Experience is only gained by doing.
As for the Ducks, they are having scoring issues. Despite being outshot Monday, they had a half-dozen quality chances that they wasted.
The momentum in this series has shifted game-to-game. Now it’s with the Wings.
“To be honest, we have some guys who aren’t playing very well,” said Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau. “It’s going to be difficult to win if some guys don’t pick it up.”
And now that’s it’s a best-of-three series, there’s almost no time to wait.