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After sweeping Columbus, Wings get some time off

by Mike G. Morreale
COLUMBUS – As an added bonus of sweeping the Blue Jackets, the Detroit Red Wings not only moved to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but also grabbed some much-needed rest.

Judging by the other tight battles taking place in the conference, there's a chance the Red Wings might actually get a one-week layoff before the next round. But do the Wings need time off this early in the playoffs?

"If you knew for sure you weren't going to get hurt in Game 5, then maybe you'd want to play one more," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "But remember, one check or a puck to the face and there's a chance you could be gone for a while. It's pretty obvious that the more games you play, the better chance you have at getting hurt.

"Being healthy is what I call being lucky at playoff time. If you can keep your health, you have a chance and, to me, that's what it's all about."

Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom certainly doesn't want to look at winning four-straight games as a negative.

"The good thing is you will get a few days rest here and that's the benefit of finishing a series early," he said. "The down side is the fact you don't want to become complacent either. You want to keep that focus you have so that once we start skating hard again, we can get right back to what got us success in this series."

Marian Hossa, who scored his first two goals of the playoffs in Game 4, will use this time wisely.

"It'll be nice to get a few days off while we wait for the next team," Hossa said. "We'll still have to keep that energy and, in the meantime, work on other things. I'll watch the other games and series if I'm home with nothing to do. Sure, I'll watch it; maybe I'll learn something."

Johan Franzen, whose power-play goal with 46.6 seconds remaining in the third snapped a 5-5 tie that enabled the Red Wings to advance, sees advantages and disadvantages to sweeping an opponent in the playoffs.

"You need to get the rest in order to heal those bumps and bruises but, at the same time, you lose some game tempo that you can't get from just practicing," Franzen said. "It's really important to heal up and get fresh again, so maybe it's more beneficial to get that rest. I guess we'll find out either way."

In addition to earning some rest, perhaps missed in the excitement of Detroit's victory was the fact Hossa became the 11th player to register at least one goal for the Wings this playoff season. That's pretty impressive stuff.

Henrik Zetterberg leads the pack with three goals, followed by Dan Cleary, Jiri Hudler, Franzen and Hossa, each with two. Detroit's depth was an area that Columbus coach Ken Hitchcock knew would play a huge role in this series and he was right.

"The difference in this series was Detroit's depth,” Hitchcock said. "(Pavel) Datsyuk had just two points after four games. How many playoff teams can say their top scorer has two points yet their team won four games in the playoffs?

"They play like old dogs," he continued. "They wait for things to come. Experience allows you to be patient in critical situations. They just don't make the mistakes that other teams make."

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