Wings not taking home success for granted
The Detroit Red Wings have won the Stanley Cup on the road before, but they're happy to be playing the seventh and deciding game for the championship on home ice all the same.
Game 7 will take place on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena on Hockey Night in Canada (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:30 p.m. ET).
"It's a one-game, winner-takes-all and we're playing it in our building so we're going to use everything we can in Detroit and Joe Louis to our advantage and be ready to go to drop the puck," veteran Kris Draper said on Wednesday.
Detroit is 11-1 in their building during the playoffs this season, with the lone loss in overtime to Anaheim in the second round.
The Red Wings at home have bedeviled Pittsburgh over the course of two years in the final. Detroit has allowed just six goals in six games to the high-powered Penguins, shutting them out twice.
But Draper said those statistics are irrelevant once the puck drops for the finale.
"We have the extra day [off] to take advantage of … to regroup mentally and physically to come out and do everything we can to get the job done, and I'm sure Pittsburgh's mindset is the exact same as ours."
The veteran forward, along with Nicklas Lidstrom and Kirk Maltby, has a chance to win a fifth Stanley Cup. Detroit has won four championships since 1997, including last season.
Despite the championship pedigree of most the lineup, the Red Wings have never played a Game 7 in a Stanley Cup final, although coach Mike Babcock went the distance in a losing cause as coach of Anaheim in 2003.
"When you don't have experience you say it's overrated, and when you do you understand how important it is and it's always nice to [have been] through something before so you know what to expect," said Babcock.
The home team has won 12 of the last 14 do-or-die games in Stanley Cup final, including Tampa Bay and Carolina the last two instances.
As well, Detroit could be the first team since Chicago in 1971 to lose the final series after winning the first two contests at home.
The coach bristled at suggestions his team is under more pressure, though.
"I think our players should really enjoy the next couple of days and the preparation, so words like 'fear'... to me don't enter in the picture one bit," Babcock said.
Perhaps no player will be on the spot like Marian Hossa, who departed Pittsburgh last summer for a chance to win the Cup in Detroit.
"Hoss wants to be the guy and there's no doubt he's a world-class player, he's a clutch player and he wants to be the difference," said Draper. " We know how bad he wants this."
Hossa hasn't scored in the last seven games, with three assists in six games against his former team.