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Is tonight the night for Datsyuk, Hossa, Holmstrom?

Tuesday, 05.19.2009 / 12:05 PM / Conference Finals: Detroit vs. Chicago

By Brian Compton - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Detroit Red Wings Playoff GearDETROIT -- The chances certainly have been there. Now, it's just a matter of if/when they'll start to go in for the Detroit Red Wings' top line of Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa and Tomas Holmstrom.

The trio will get another opportunity to snap out of their mini-slump on Tuesday night, when the Wings host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS).

Despite the fact that Datsyuk, Hossa and Holmstrom have combined for just seven goals this postseason, the Red Wings can pull within two wins of a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final with a victory Tuesday night -- a testament to the depth on the roster. Nonetheless, Detroit coach Mike Babcock is confident that his top line is ready to contribute offensively.

"I thought last game in particular, they had a number of chances," Babcock said. "They had 3-on-2s and just didn't execute. I thought Pav had a great play on the power play. He actually had the puck between (Nikolai) Khabibulin's pad and his blocker and it kind of bounced around. They're getting their opportunities. I think they're good players. I don't think the other team doesn't think they're good players. I think they're good players and I think they think they're good players. You just keep doing what you're doing and good things will happen."

Datsyuk, a Hart Trophy candidate as the League's Most Valuable Player, has just 1 goal and 4 assists this postseason and hasn't scored since April 18 (Game 2 vs. Columbus). Holmstrom, who is known for his work in front of the net, has two goals in the playoffs and hasn't scored in his last eight games.

Hossa, meanwhile, is 4-3-7 in 12 postseason contests. But he's had a pair of two-goal games, which means he has been held without a goal in 10 of the 12 aforementioned matches. He scored 40 goals in 2008-09, spent mostly on a line with Datsyuk and Holmstrom.

"We played together most of the season," Hossa said. "We know what we can expect from each other. I think we're getting our chances, we just cannot get on the scoreboard. We just have to stick with it. As long as we're getting our chances, sooner or later the puck has to go in. We just have to continue doing what we're doing."

Holmstrom agreed.

"As long as you work hard, it's going to come," said Holmstrom, who had 14 goals in the regular season. "I think the other guys are doing a great job knowing that we haven't scored. I don't think we're playing bad. We just haven't put the puck in the net.

"You play the same way ... it doesn't matter who you're playing with," Holmstrom said. "I try to do the same job ... go to the net, pick up pucks. Nothing will change."

Contact Brian Compton at: bcompton@nhl.com.
Quote of the Day

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com