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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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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
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13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 49 16 21 11 37
J. Huberdeau 52 10 27 10 37
A. Barkov 42 16 19 13 35
J. Jokinen 52 10 25 12 35
V. Trocheck 52 17 16 4 33
R. Smith 52 16 15 11 31
B. Pirri 48 10 13 -4 23
A. Ekblad 48 10 12 21 22
B. Campbell 52 4 16 17 20
N. Bjugstad 37 9 8 -3 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 13 5 .930 2.13
A. Montoya 8 2 1 .931 1.93

 
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