zetterberg-henrik090519

Red Wings' Henrik Zetterberg, shown here, and linemates Johan Franzen and Dan Cleary, limited Chicago's Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to three shots in Game 1. ((Carlos Osorio/Associated Press))

Henrik Zetterberg, a 31-goal scorer for the Detroit Red Wings in the regular season, has been equally impressive on the defensive side during the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs.

First, the sixth-year NHL centre helped shut down Columbus' Rick Nash, who scored a career-best 40 goals in the regular season prior to being held to just one against Detroit in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

In Round 2, Anaheim Ducks linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry combined for only seven points against Zetterberg and company when it mattered most, namely Games 5-7 against the prevailing Red Wings.

And on Sunday, Zetterberg and linemates Johan Franzen and Dan Cleary held Chicago's Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to three shots and watched the dynamic duo finish a combined minus-6 in Game 1 of the NHL Western Conference final in Detroit.

"They were all over me tonight, so I was trying to set up [scoring chances] more," Kane, who leads the Blackhawks with eight playoff goals, said of the Zetterberg line prior to Game 2.

The 20-year-oldĀ Kane was relatively quiet for games three through five in the conference semifinals against Vancouver (one assist) before erupting for his first-ever NHL hat trick in a series-clinching 7-5 win, so the Red Wings can't rest easy.

"We always had a guy high [in the defensive zone] and slowed them down and deflected them to the outside," said Franzen, who leads Detroit in these playoffs with 18 points and has 22 goals in his past 28 post-season appearances.

Zetterberg, who is coming off a 31-goal regular campaign, was named most valuable player of last year's Stanley Cup playoffs, in part for his tying of a team record for playoff goals (13) but also his defensive play.

Shut-down defenceĀ big in Detroit

It's well known that if you don't play defence in Detroit, you don't play, period.

"Scoring goals is probably a little bit more fun," Zetterberg said, "but the chance to play against good players and keep them from scoring is fun, too."

While the Zetterberg line is of little concern to Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock, there is the matter of three other key forwards who aren't meeting expectations on the scoresheet.

Pavel Datsyuk has been blanked for 10 consecutive games, Marian Hossa has two goals in eight contests and Tomas Holmstrom hasn't found the back of the net in his last eight outings.

Babcock said he isn't concerned about their lack of goal production because the team is winning and added they have contributed in other ways.

"I thought Pavel made some unbelievable plays [in Game 1]," he said. "If they weren't competing, I'd be concerned."

If you're a Blackhawks fan, you also have to like the fact Detroit counted 16 turnovers in the series opener.

The Blackhawks would be wise to outwork their opponent in hopes of drawing penalties. In this year's playoffs, the Red Wings rank 15th out of 16 teams with a 70.7 per cent success rate on the penalty-kill.

Chicago connected on its lone power-play on Sunday and has converted 30.8 per cent of its opportunities in the 2009 post-season, tops in the NHL.

Four Blackhawks didn't participate in Monday's skate: forwards Martin Havlat and Samuel Pahlsson along with defencemen Duncan Keith and Matt Walker.

Havlat reportedly was limping when he arrived at the rink but head coach Joel Quenneville said the winger is "fine" and that all four players are available for Tuesday's tilt.