Hockey Night In Canada Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011

Draper could be back in for Wings

Categories: Detroit Red Wings, SJS vs. DET, San Jose Sharks

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Veteran Kris Draper could draw in for Detroit in Game 3 on Wednesday against visiting San Jose. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Veteran Kris Draper could draw in for Detroit in Game 3 on Wednesday against visiting San Jose. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Gamesmanship is fairly easy when you're down 2-0 in a series. You'll show anything in practice because you have top show something.

That's Detroit coach Mike Babcock.

Buty gamesmanship when you're up 2-0 ... not very convincing.

Not that Sharks coach Todd McLellan didn't try at Tuesday's practice before Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal series with the Red Wings.

Logan Couture, the second line centre, was at left wing on a line with Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi, exchanging places with Patrick Marleau, who skated at center with Ryane Clowe and Dany Heatley.

Which of course nobody buys.

The Sharks have more than done enough in Games 1 and 2 to be the controlling team in this series, and changing for any reason other than injury, hangover or wandering into the woods is essentially outside the pale.

The best line of all for San Jose, the Snowman Joe Pavelski-Torrey Mitchell-Kyle Wellwood line, remained intact, and the line that we expect to see a change, the fourth did so as well, although all five candidates - Ben Eager, Scott Nichol, Benn Ferriero, Jamal Mayers and Jamie McGinn - all worked it at practice.

It remains doubtful that McLellan would leave Eager on left wing after a problematic Game 2, but that remains one of McLellan's pet game decisions that really isn't. Whatever he decided, he probably decided Tuesday.

All that said, the Sharks still have four goals in two games, and are now coming into Joe Louis Arena, where they have won three of the last four but just eight of the previous 44. Assuming the Red Wings hold up their end of what is supposed to be superb series, McLellan will have plenty of time for gamesmanship himself before Game 4.

Lineup:

Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Devin Setoguchi
Dany Heatley-Logan Couture-Ryane Clowe
Torrey Mitchell-Joe Pavelski-Kyle Wellwood
Jamal Mayers-Scott Nichol-Benn Ferriero

Douglas Murray-Dan Boyle
Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Jason Demers
Ian White-Niclas Wallin

Antti Niemi
Antero Niittymaki

RED WINGS

If the Detroit Red Wings intend upon going forward in the Stanley Cup playoffs, then their forwards had better get going.

That was the message Wings coach Mike Babcock delivered as his club prepared for Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday at Joe Louis Arena facing a 2-0 deficit.

Babcock made it abundantly clear he was unhappy with the determination and grittiness of his his forward group during Detroit's two losses to open the series on the weekend at San Jose's HP Pavilion. A total of nine Red Wings forwards are still in search of their first point of the series.

"I want our team to play hard," Babcock said. "I want more out of our forwards. I want us to spend more time in the offensive zone and sustain pressure. I think we can backcheck harder and I think we can be harder on 50-50 pucks just all over."

Shake it up?

Is Kris Draper in the lineup for Game 3, or isn't he?

Draper, a healthy scratch for Games 1 and 2, seemed certain Tuesday that he was, while Babcock appeared to be taken aback by the thought that some of his secrets might have leaked out.

"I am," Draper said when asked if he was in the lineup for Game 3. "This never gets old, this time of year, playing in the playoffs.

"During the regular season, sometimes you get the dog days, but this time of year, you love it. You love getting in your vehicle driving down to the Joe and realizing that it's playoff hockey."

Draper and Drew Miller both worked on left wing on a line with Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves during Tuesday's practice. All of Detroit's lines were juggled. Henrik Zetterberg skated between Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary, Valtteri Filppula worked the middle with Jiri Hudler and Justin Abdelkader, and Pavel Datsyuk was the middle man for Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom.

"We're working with different lines," Datsyuk said. "It's nothing new. We're changing for a little bit".

Babcock cautioned people not to read anything into the shake up.

"I haven't decided on any lineup changes," Babcock said. "I haven't decided who's playing with who as of yet. I haven't decided who's in either."

Snow job

Snow showers delivered to Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard during the first two games of the series by San Jose forwards had some Wings talking about retribution in Game 3.

"Maybe we should start snow showering," suggested Detroit forward Dan Cleary. "The referees have got to make a decision. We don't want them doing that. If you let them get away with it, they're going to do it again. So, you have to take liberties."

Others weren't so certain that was such a good idea.

"The stuff after the whistle, we've got to stay away from that," defenceman Niklas Kronwall said.

Added Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom: They're trying to get under [Howard's] skin. It's part of the game."

Babcock sought to drive such talk right out of his dressing room.

"I told our players today that we have a general manager [Ken Holland] and he looks after that stuff," Babcock said. "We've just got to forget about being distracted, be disciplined and be determined."

For his part, Howard just wished everyone would move on and forget about the whole thing, because it has no effect on his play.

"They can come in and pitchfork me all they want," Howard said. "They can do whatever they want. They're not going to take me off my game."