Apr 29, 2013, 12:11 PM EST
Back in February, Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock spoke about the way his team had to play now that legendary defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom was retired.
“We have to be closer and tighter and more available and better defensively, and sometimes it’s not very pretty, but that’s just the way it is,” Babcock said.
The key, he said, was to be able to hit the opponent’s blue line with speed, which either produces an entry while maintaining possession or a dump-and-chase with a good chance of retrieval.
Veteran defenseman Ian White failed to move the puck the way his coach wanted and found himself in the press box as a result.
“We’ve really improved drastically in that area, probably the most improved part of our team,” Babcock said. “With [goalie Jimmy Howard] playing the way he is and the D able to get the puck going, we’re spending a lot less time in our zone. That allows you to be much better up front.”
Detroit finished the regular season on a four-game winning streak. (And in the two losses that preceded those four wins, they outshot their opponents by a wide margin.)
The Wings open their 22nd straight postseason Tuesday in Anaheim against a Ducks side that’s just 8-9-2 in its last 19 games.
- Video: Shattenkirk injured, won’t return after collision with Ovechkin 0
- Ovechkin becomes fifth player to start career with 10 straight 30+ goal seasons 0
- End nearing? Lightning waive Nabokov 1
- Leafs scoring slump hits historical low 23
- Video: Rangers’ Lundqvist takes puck to the neck 10
- Zamboni driver arrested for DUI, allegedly cleaned ice surface while drunk 16
- Mike Richards trying to make the best of being sent to the AHL 14
- Price leads Habs past Caps with second straight shutout 12
- Report: Rob Blake would be Brendan Shanahan’s first choice to replace Dave Nonis 5
- Bettman would be ‘kicking and screaming’ before NHL jerseys have ads 28