NHL

Red Wings relaxed heading into Game 7 against Sharks

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TSN.ca Staff
5/11/2011 10:10:57 PM
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They came off as very calm and relaxed for a team facing a Game 7 as the visitors, with a berth in the Western Conference final on the line.

But with the Detroit Red Wings, veterans of 20 straight playoff appearances and two Stanley Cup victories in the last 10 years, would you expect any less?

"We take the comfort of a lot of guys that have played in that situation and scenario, so it's a pretty comfortable room to be sitting in," said Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi. "This is what we wanted, we wanted to push it to Game 7 and I like where our heads are at."

"I think experience helps and just knowing what it takes to win," said defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom. "Having said that, it's not going to be easy. It's going to take a lot of hard work and we're going to have to show up [Thursday] night to get a win."

Lidstrom, the team's captain, likely has the most big game experience of the lot. The 41-year-old from Sweden has never missed the playoffs in his career and has four Stanley Cup rings with the team.

That experience will be greatly relied upon Thursday night when Lidstrom and the Wings take on the San Jose Sharks in San Jose, with the winner advancing to face the Vancouver Canucks in the Western final.

"We're looking forward to it," said Bertuzzi. "We want to get out there, get ourselves ready and focused, and play exactly the way we've been playing in order to get our past three wins."

The Red Wings have all said that they won't change their approach to the game. After winning three straight elimination games, Detroit players want to emulate everything they've been doing lately.

"We're one win away from moving on but we're also one loss away from not playing in the playoffs anymore," said Lidstrom "We know what's at stake. Our approach is going to be the same as we had in the last three games."

"We're just going to prepare as a normal Game 7," said forward Henrik Zetterberg. "It's not often you have a chance to play a Game 7 and it is a lot of fun. You have to embrace it and really enjoy it."

It's easy to see how Red Wing players remain relaxed and composed in elimination situations with a head coach like Mike Babcock. Babcock, a Stanley Cup and Olympic Gold Medal-winning coach, sets the tone for his team that allows them to prepare for big games on the same even keel they have throughout the entire season.

"Until you do it the first time, you just think you can do it," said Babcock. "That's where experience comes along, and saying that, you have to do it again. It's brand new every time, and you have to find a way."

"Experience, when you have none, is overrated. When you have it you think it's great. And the bottom line is we're going to have two good teams that play tomorrow with an opportunity to play tomorrow. If you get to the final four anything can happen and we'd like to have that opportunity."

The Red Wings take on the Sharks in Game 7 of their Round 2 series on TSN Thursday at 9pm et/6pm pt.

Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg (Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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