NHL: Red Wings still confident
PITTSBURGH ó The Detroit Red Wings are talking and acting like a team with a hammerlock 3-0 grip of a lead in the Stanley Cup finals against Pittsburgh, rather than the more precarious 2-1 advantage they own going into Game 4.
Coach Mike Babcock, goalie Chris Osgood and several other players who made their way to Mellon Arena on what otherwise was an off day for hockey were uncommonly loose, relaxed and confident.
So loose, they hardly looked like a team that, barely 12 hours before, twice fell behind by two goals while allowing Sidney Crosby to score twice in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 victory in Game 3. The must-win game for Pittsburgh made certain the Red Wings can’t clinch in Game 4 tonight.
The Red Wings preferred to talk about what went right rather than what went wrong, even if there were mistakes aplenty following two near-perfect games in Detroit.
Babcock seemed to wish that Game 4 was being played in a few hours, saying, “It should be a lot of fun.”
“I mean, we still have a great feeling in our dressing room, and Mike is going to be the first to tell you that,” forward Kris Draper said. “We knew this was going to be a series, and that’s what it’s turned into.”
A series the Red Wings can firmly control again if they win Game 4, which would give them a chance to raise the Cup in Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena on Monday. A loss means they forfeit that considerable momentum and guarantee themselves a return trip to Pittsburgh, where the Penguins haven’t lost in 17 games since Feb. 24.
For the Red Wings, the preferred scenario is obvious.
“No sense beating yourself up over it,” Babcock said of Game 3, in which the Red Wings pressured furiously during a 16-shot third period to tie it but couldn’t. “We didn’t win the game. It’s a new day. It’s sunny. Let’s go.”
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