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Wings Look To Move On

Wednesday, 05.27.2009 / 11:57 AM / Preview
Associated Press
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Wings Look To Move On
The Wings won Game 4, 6-1, despite the absence of their captain Nicklas Lidstrom. It's possible he could be out Game 5 as well as Detroit looks to clinch their series against the Blackhawks.. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
DETROIT (AP) - The Red Wings did just fine without Nicklas Lidstrom. Now they don't want to push their luck.

Detroit routed the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 Sunday and took a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals. It was the only playoff game Lidstrom missed in his career.

Rookie Jonathan Ericsson filled in for the six-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman, and the defending champions didn't miss a beat. Still, as well as Ericsson played, Detroit hopes it won't have to replace Lidstrom again in Game 5 on Wednesday night with a chance to reach the Stanley Cup finals.

"It's way easier to replace quality players in the short term than it is in the long term because everyone can lift their level for a period of time," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday. "But, how you gonna play like Nick every night? I haven't seen anybody play like Nick every night, except Nick."

Babcock said Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk were feeling better, but the team planned to wait until both got a chance to skate before the game to decide whether they will play.

Lidstrom missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury. Datsyuk, an MVP finalist, has been out the past two games with an injured foot.

Babcock cut off a question about resting the players with a 3-1 series lead.

"If they're ready, they're playing," Babcock insisted.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said his team would wait until game day to determine if No. 1 goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and leading scorer Martin Havlat will be on the ice to help avoid elimination.

Havlat returned to the lineup Sunday, two days after a jarring hit from Detroit Niklas Kronwall, but was limited to fewer than eight minutes because he was checked hard by Brad Stuart.

Khabibulin has been out since playing the first two periods of Game 3 because of a lower body injury. He was replaced by Cristobal Huet, who allowed five of Detroit six goals in Game 5.

"We've found ways to play great without some of our best players all year," Chicago star Jonathan Toews said. "We've missed guys like Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp and we found ways to win without those guys. We have to do the same thing (Wednesday) night. There is no excuse."

If the Blackhawks did make excuses, the banged-up Red Wings wouldn't want to hear them.

Detroit has played in this series without two of its best players and four-time Cup-winning forward Kris Draper because of injuries.

Brian Rafalski missed six games earlier in the playoffs, Tomas Kopecky has been sidelined since the second round and Andreas Lilja has been out the entire postseason because of various ailments.

When the Red Wings found out they would be without Lidstrom and Datsyuk in Game 4, they didn't flinch.

"I don't think there was any doubt we would win without those two," Rafalski said.

Ericsson replaced Lidstrom, pairing him with Rafalski, and was solid in place of a player with a franchise-record 228 games of postseason experience.

"I wouldn't say I took his spot," Ericsson said. "Everybody is just trying to fill in with Nick, Pavel and Drapes out."

Valtteri Filppula has four points in the past two games, filling in for Datsyuk.

"Even though they might be missing some of their top players, they have that depth and have that experience," Toews said. "We definitely can't expect an easy game.

"They are going to be determined to close it out. But we're not going anywhere. We're positive and optimistic about our situation, although a lot of people may not be."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 48 27 13 8 143 124 62
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 48 18 22 8 109 135 44
15 CAR 47 17 25 5 102 122 39
16 BUF 49 14 32 3 92 174 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 46 16 13 -1 29
A. Ekblad 46 7 21 6 28
J. Huberdeau 43 9 17 1 26
J. Jokinen 45 4 21 -3 25
B. Boyes 44 10 12 2 22
J. Hayes 38 13 7 1 20
S. Bergenheim 35 8 9 2 17
A. Barkov 35 5 10 -5 15
B. Campbell 46 3 11 -1 14
D. Kulikov 41 1 13 -3 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 18 11 8 .920 2.42
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96
 
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