Posted on May 31, 2008 02:58 PM | Permalink
The Detroit Red Wings twice have lost back-to-back games in these playoffs, but it's going to be a mighty chore for the Pittsburgh Penguins to do that again tonight.
The Red Wings looked very focused at the skate this morning here at Mellon Arena. None of the Red Wings players would say it, but there is a feeling in their locker room that they should have routed the Penguins in Game 3, that the Penguins got away with one.
The fact is, other than Adam Hall's bank-shot of a goal in the third period, the Wings dominated the last half of the game.
They outshot Pittsburgh 16-5 in the third period, but misfired on some glorious chances.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock pulled a Mark Messier this morning, at least when it came to his first power-play unit, which has struggled the last two games.
"They're going to respond like they always do. The power play is going to be on fire and they're going to play well," Babcock said.
Babcock was certainly in a feisty mood today. When a questioner started by saying "You've mentioned that every player has to be treated differently…", Babcock cut him off at the pass.
"I never said that. So you have a question you want to ask? You can't make that statement. I never said that," he said.
After that, the questioner sputtered, and Babcock cut him off again.
"We've had too much time in between games here. It's pretty apparent. And this is my fourth press conference since the last game. And I'm looking forward to tonight's game so we can talk about something else," Babcock said.
Babcock did sum up the collective mood of the team following its Game 3 loss: "It's not like they dominated us. They were better than us for 20 minutes in the game. We turned the puck over too many times. Our shift length wasn't as good. The coach didn't get the people on and off the ice good. In the end, the puck went in the net one more time for them.
"We're not making any more than that. We have an opportunity here today. We've been a good road team all year. We usually respond when things don't go the way we want."
Wings winger Tomas Holmstrom will be a game-time decision, Babcock said. The official injury given is a hamstring pull, and Holmstrom did seem to indicate that's where the actual ailment is.
Holmstrom seemed upbeat about his chances to play, but if his skating isn't up to par in the warmups, look for Darren McCarty to replace him.
THERRIEN NOT BACKING DOWN
Penguins coach Michel Therrien continues to make obstruction an issue in the series, publicly proclaiming still that Detroit gets away with too much illegal stickwork.
That's another reason why the Wings are coming into tonight's game a little ticked off and with some bravado. But Therrien thinks Detroit will be in for a surprise.
"Our focus gets better every game. And tonight I'm expecting we're going to play well. It was a good game, Game 3, but tonight I'm expecting we're going to be better as well."