Red Wings rested, ready to face Stars
The Detroit Red Wings merited a couple of days off following a series sweep of the Colorado Avalanche, but Kris Draper spent the weekend at the rink anyway.
"My eight-year-old daughter Kennedi told me we had to win Game 4 so that I could go to her figure skating performances because I rarely can go," he said as the Red Wings resumed workouts on Monday.
"She had four and I made three of them. So we had time off and I spent almost all of it at a rink."
Several of Draper's teammates spent Sunday night gathered around the television, watching the Dallas Stars eliminate the San Jose Sharks 2-1 in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal.
Brenden Morrow won it with a power-play goal 9:03 into the fourth overtime period, ending an entertaining marathon that went beyond 2 a.m. ET.
Detroit, winner of the Presidents' Trophy with 115 points and the top seed in the conference, hasn't played since annihilating the Avalanche 8-2 last Friday.
But some of the Red Wings wish they were playing sooner, while others seem OK with the long layoff.
"It could be both good and bad, resting this long," said Red Wings forward Johan Franzen, who set a franchise mark with nine goals in the second-round series sweep of Colorado.
"You get out of the rhythm a little bit. But at the same time, you heal up your body."
"If you go deep into a series, that is where, hopefully, it [the layoff] will pay off a little bit," Red Wings defenceman Chris Chelios noted. "We're healthy and looking pretty good."
The Red Wings have no significant injuries and look to be firing on all cylinders as they bid to win their second Stanley Cup in seven seasons: Franzen leads all playoff snipers with 11 goals and trails only Jaromir Jagr with 14 points; Henrik Zetterberg boasts the best plus/minus rating at plus-10; and goaltender Chris Osgood is 6-0 with a miniscule 1.52 goals-against average since replacing struggling starter Dominik Hasek halfway through Game 4 of the opening round.
But Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock expects Dallas to set the tempo, albeit briefly.
"It is always an advantage for the team that played more recently," he said. "In the first 20 minutes. After that, it is definitely good to have the rest. We had a bunch of bumps and bruises last series, and this gives us the opportunity to feel fresher.
"We will be prepared. But in the end, it is going to be will and determination and being relentless."
Detroit hosts the fifth-ranked Stars in Game 1 of the conference final at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night (7:30 p.m. ET).
With files from the Associated Press