Tuesday, May 26, 2009

DETROIT | The Detroit Red Wings had 3-1 series leads twice in the playoffs last year and failed to win on home ice either time.

Detroit did, though, beat the Pittsburgh Penguins to win the Stanley Cup after eliminating the Dallas Stars. Both series ended in Game 6s on the road.

The defending champions would like to make things a little easier on themselves Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

“You want to finish it as soon as you can,” Detroit defenseman Brian Rafalski said Monday, a day after the Red Wings beat Chicago 6-1 in Game 4. “Obviously, we have some banged-up bodies.”

MVP finalist Pavel Datsyuk (foot) has missed two games, six-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom (lower-body injury) was a surprise scratch Sunday and four-time Cup-winning forward Kris Draper (lower-body injury) missed Game 4, too.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he hopes Datsyuk and Lidstrom will be back on the ice Wednesday but ruled out Draper for Game 5.

Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood said the team doctor kept him out of the third period Sunday because of cramps but insisted he felt “great” Monday.

On the brink of elimination, the Blackhawks are also banged up.

Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) hasn’t played since the second period of Game 4, which Chicago won in overtime, and the team’s leading scorer, Martin Havlat, left the ice in two straight games after getting checked hard.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said the status for both players will become more clear Tuesday.

When talking about a roughing penalty on defenseman Matt Walker, Quenneville called it “probably the worst call in the history of sports there.”

Quenneville was fined $10,000 by the NHL on Monday for his remarks.

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