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Wings Look To Move On

Wednesday, 05.27.2009 / 11:57 AM ET / 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."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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