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Red Wings surprised Lidstrom was a Game 4 scratch

Monday, 05.25.2009 / 1:04 PM / Conference Finals: Detroit vs. Chicago

By Larry Wigge - NHL.com Columnist

"Sunday morning I got text message from the trainer telling me that I should be ready to play, because Nick might not be ready to go.  I thought it was a joke, because Nick doesn't even miss practices unless he's told to stay away from the rink to get some rest by the coaching staff."
-- Chris Chelios on Nicklas Lidstrom missing Game 4 due to injury

DETROIT -- Sometimes the pain doesn't hit you until a few days later. Strange? No stranger than seeing Nick Lidstrom miss his first playoff game ever.

Lidstrom finished that game and looked good in practice Saturday, according to Chris Chelios.

"We went out to dinner Saturday night and I had no idea. He was in great spirits," Chelios said. "Then about 9:45 Sunday morning I got text message from the trainer telling me that I should be ready to play, because Nick might not be ready to go.

"I thought it was a joke, because Nick doesn't even miss practices unless he's told to stay away from the rink to get some rest by the coaching staff."

Lidstrom had played 228 consecutive playoff games since 1992, when he left Sweden for Detroit. Should he recover sufficiently, he could vault all the way to second on the NHL's all-time playoff games list.

That total of 228 is a club record for playoff games and ranks sixth all-time in the NHL behind only Chelios (264), Mark Messier (236), Claude Lemieux (234), Scott Stevens (233) and Guy Carbonneau (231).

In another odd turn, it was Chelios who got the call -- in more ways than one -- to play when it was learned that Lidstrom had a lower body injury that was believed to have happened midway through Game 3 Friday when Nick seemed to get his ankle twisted in a collision with Chicago's Dustin Byfuglien along the boards.

Said a surprised coach Mike Babcock, "I was in the cab on the way over here and I found out about Nick. All I can say now is I hope to see him on Wednesday. I was told it isn't a long-term injury."

No matter the rest of the defense came to Lidstrom's defense, limiting Chicago to just 28 shots while the forwards exploded in a 6-1 victory Sunday.

Fours are wild for Hossa
-- In a game of oddities, here's another one.

Many were aware that Marian Hossa had scored only four goals in this year's playoffs for the Red Wings. Few were aware that those goals all came in Game 4's -- two in the first round against Columbus and two more in the next round against Anaheim.

But Hossa knew the facts before he once again added two goals in Game 4 of the Western Confernce Finals in Chicago.

Anomaly? You bet. But Hossa said he plans on doing something about it in Game 5 at Detroit on Wednesday as the Red Wings try to eliminate the Blackhawks and make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second straight year.

"When you don't score that often, you realize that," Hossa said with a big grin on his face. "It's just funny, the fourth game in the series and two goals."

Then, the high-scoring winger and leading goal scorer on the Wings this season, added, "I'll try to stop that in the next game."

Shifting Wings -- If Pavel Datsyuk returns to the lineup for the Red Wings in Game 5, then Valtteri Filppula will return to third-line duty with Jiri Hudler and Mikael Samuelsson. And what that means is more firepower for the Red Wings.

In case you didn't realize it, when we talk about defense leading to offense and transition being key in Detroit's attack, here's a number for you to chew on:

The Red Wings have won 48 consecutive playoff games in which they have scored four of more goals. The streak dates back to a 7-4 loss to Phoenix on April 24, 1998, in Game 2 of the first round.

Something else to keep your eyes on:  The Red Wings aren't proud of the fact that they haven't been able to keep the opposition off the scoreboard on the power play. That
dubious streak was extended to 13 consecutive games in Game 4,
extending a franchise record, when Chicago's only goal by Jonathan Toews came when the Hawks had a man advantage.

Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff