The Blackhawks embarrassed the Red Wings with how they outworked the Central Division champs in Friday’s 4-2 win in Detroit.
Expect a better effort today from the Wings, who are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games but looking to enter the playoffs with a little momentum.
“We’re trying to figure it out in here and trying to see what we’ve got to do differently,” Detroit’s Dan Cleary said. “We’ve got another game (today) to get ready for the playoffs. It’s right around the corner, so we’ve certainly got to get ready and get our intensity level up.
“Listen, we haven’t played well for awhile here consistently. We’ve got to find a way. It’s not an easy fix. I think as a team we just have to manage the puck a little bit better and definitely get our intensity level up.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wasn’t happy about anything his team did Friday.
“It’s just about having one more game and we’ve got to get ourselves ready, get the brain in gear and get playing,” Babcock said. “For us, we can be done in a heck of a hurry. And the sense of urgency that we’ve got to have and the change in our mindset that we’ve go to have obviously is very apparent.
“You don’t want to be going into the playoffs the way we have.”
Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom knows his team must match the Hawks’ desperation level with a playoff spot on the line.
“They’re a good team,” Lidstrom said. “They’re the defending Stanley Cup champs and they’re a good team. When they’re playing the way they played (Friday), you have to show up and play a lot better than the way we did.”
Adding a spark:
The return of Patrick Sharp and the recall of winger Ben Smith from Rockford has given the Hawks a jolt of energy when they needed it most.
Sharp has 2 assists in two games — both wins — since he returned early from a knee injury.
“The fact that he got back way ahead of schedule certainly helped the locker room, his leadership and his presence and the options he gives coaches to do different things,” coach Joel Quenneville said.
Said Sharp: “I did some different things (Friday) to get ready before the game and it felt a little better skating.”
The Hawks are also 2-0 with Smith playing left wing on a line with Michael Frolik and Patrick Kane. Smith scored his first NHL goal in the win at Detroit.
“He’s a great kid who does everything right,” Sharp said. “He works hard off the ice and works hard on the ice and plays the game the right way. We’re lucky to have him.”
The Hawks could become only the fifth team in the NHL’s expansion era (post-1967) to miss the playoffs a year after winning the Stanley Cup.
It happened to Carolina in 2007, New Jersey in 1996, Montreal in 1970 and Toronto in 1968.
Dave Bolland skated again Saturday at an optional practice but is not yet cleared for contact. Bolland wasn’t allowed to speak to the media.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.