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updated: 5/20/2013 11:01 PM

Zetterberg causing big headaches for Hawks

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  • Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) stops shot by Detroit Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg (40), of Sweden, as defenseman Johnny Oduya (27), of Sweden, defends during the second period of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Western Conference semifinal game in Detroit, Monday, May 20, 2013.

      Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) stops shot by Detroit Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg (40), of Sweden, as defenseman Johnny Oduya (27), of Sweden, defends during the second period of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs Western Conference semifinal game in Detroit, Monday, May 20, 2013.
    Associated Press

 
 

DETROIT -- Marian Hossa got to know Henrik Zetterberg in the one season he spent with the Red Wings in 2008-09.

"I have the best memories of him," Hossa said Monday. "He was great in the dressing room, a great guy to be around and such a smart player."

Now Hossa is being reintroduced to Zetterberg in the Western Conference semifinals.

It's Zetterberg whom Detroit coach Mike Babcock has chosen to play against the Blackhawks' top line of Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad.

"Obviously, he's doing a lot of little things to take myself and my linemates off our game," Toews said before the Hawks went out and lost 3-1 in Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena. "He's a smart player that way."

Toews, who didn't have a point but did lead the Hawks with 7 shots, believes the Hawks can overcome what is now a 2-1 deficit in the best-of-seven series.

"We have a lot of experience in this room and to go with that we have a lot of young energy guys who want to win," Toews said. "It almost takes something like this to slap you in the face to really understand what adversity is and how tough the playoffs can be.

"A lot of guys in this room have been in tough positions before in the playoffs and it's never stopped us. We know this is going to be a long series and we'll be fighting to the end."

Zetterberg said he's more focused on the entire line and not just Toews.

"That line with Saad and Hossa is a good line," Zetterberg said. "You've got to play them as a five-man unit. Their defense jumps up in the play so it's not just one player. You have to focus on everyone.

"Everyone has to win their 1-on-1 battles. It's nothing different for me."

Zetterberg frustrated Toews in Game 2 with his physical play in Detroit's win at the United Center.

It's hard to believe Zetterberg has never won the Selke Trophy for defensive forwards, but he plays in the shadow of teammate Pavel Datsyuk, who has won it three times.

Zetterberg was second to Datsyuk in 2008, his best finish.

"This time of year he comes and competes," teammate Jimmy Howard said. "Most nights, he's the best player on the ice."

Babcock knows Toews doesn't get frustrated easily.

"Jonathan Toews is a real good player," Babcock said. "I've coached him. He's immensely tough, he works hard and he knows how to play. He's an Olympic champion, a Stanley Cup champion, world junior champion. I didn't think he didn't play hard in Game 2."

Zetterberg did make the play of Game 2 when he spotted defenseman Brendan Smith cutting down the slot and made a great pass for the go-ahead goal in the second period.

"Just from going through practice and seeing how Pavel and Z and all these guys will make passes; they're not even looking at you and you don't even know they see you," Smith said. "These guys are world-class players so that's one of the reasons you've got to be ready at all times."

Smith credits veterans such as Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall with keeping the younger Red Wings in the moment.

"The vets have been really helping the young guys," Smith said. "They're always giving you some words if wisdom or advice here and there. I think as a young guy that's what I need to get to the next level. There are things I haven't seen and they have and they can give me that little advice. I'm just trying to be a sponge and take it all in.

"It's just the presence they have. Even in the last series against Anaheim when we lost the first game, how calm they were and the words they gave the team. Everybody relaxes and you don't get on too much of a high and too much of a low."

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