"There’s a lot to build on here¸ even in an off-game like this."
-- Henrik Zetterberg reflecting on Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals
Babcock admitted that wasn't the easiest thing to do after a disappointing 4-3 overtime loss Friday night that cut his club's lead in the Western Conference Finals to 2-1. But his positive outlook -- "when you work hard enough, good things go your way" -- is reflected in his players' refusal to quit competing, despite numerous obstacles.
"There’s a lot to build on here, even in an off-game like this," center Henrik Zetterberg said. "Our defense was shorthanded. We just didn't catch many breaks, penalty-wise or shot-wise. (We were) facing the (United Center) crowd and a desperate team. And yet we came back and were in great position at the end."
That the Wings were in overtime was a testament to their resilience after they trailed 3-0 with less than six minutes left in the second period.
“Everyone in this room fights every minute of ice time we have,” said forward Marian Hossa, who had two assists during a second-period comeback that saw the Wings score three times in 4:23. "We didn't come out as good as we could have. But we rallied right back into it and were in a position to win."
Just as Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville insisted his dressing room was focused and determined after that devastating second period, in which Chicago lost its lead in one big flurry, Babcock felt equally confident his Wings would follow their comeback with a victory. The fact that it didn't happen -- Patrick Sharp scored 1:52 into OT -- was disappointing, but not devastating.
If there was ever a game Detroit seemed destined not to win, this was it. First-line center Pavel Datsyuk sat out because of a sore foot. Center Kris Draper was limited to 11:29 by a sore hamstring. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall was ejected 13:08 into the game when he received a major penalty and a game misconduct for a crushing hit on Martin Havlat.
Babcock said spending most of the first period killing penalties made it hard to get anything going offensively.
"We were weakened early. We took nine minutes of penalties in the first (period)," he said. "You could argue that we couldn't shoulder much more adversity than we did in this game, and we were one rattling (Nicklas) Lidstrom shot from winning the game.
"We’ll come back strong Sunday. We always do."