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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."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 x - TBL 77 47 23 7 249 201 101
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 73 13 36 9 49
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jagr 71 15 26 -2 41
J. Jokinen 75 8 33 -2 41
B. Boyes 73 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 75 11 24 11 35
J. Hayes 66 18 13 -5 31
A. Barkov 65 14 17 -1 31
B. Campbell 76 3 22 2 25
B. Pirri 43 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 12 .921 2.33
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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