That means the defending Stanley Cup champions will again be forced to play without Norris Trophy candidate Nicklas Lidstrom and Hart Trophy finalist Pavel Datsyuk when the Wings host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals at Joe Louis Arena (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS)
According to Detroit coach Mike Babcock, progress has been made, but not enough to get either player into the lineup as the Wings gun for a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Detroit leads this best-of-7 series, 3-1.
Datsyuk skated in a track suit Wednesday morning, while Lidstrom did nothing more than ride a stationary bike. Neither player addressed the media.
"I think they're both getting closer," Babcock said. "Nick rode the bike. I'd like to think they're going to play the next time they play. (But) I thought that today, though."
Despite not having Datsyuk and Lidstrom in the lineup for Game 4 on Sunday, Detroit came away with a 6-1 victory. Marian Hossa and Henrik Zetterberg each scored twice for the Wings, who went 3-for-9 on the power play.
"Zetterberg was fantastic last game," Babcock said. "I think sometimes when people step up, you go by a few things … Zetterberg's leadership and stability allowed us to do a lot of good things. You want them all to bring their 'A' game. Some nights, different people pick up different people. I don't care who you are … when you're riding to the game and you know you've got no Pav and no Nick, you're saying to yourself, 'Oh.' Maybe that helps you really focus in as well. It's the same here today. We're going to have to be focused and we're going to have to get our people to play real well. The challenge is out there. Someone's going to have to step up here tonight."
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