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Babcock to Wings: Win one game at a time

by Brian Compton /
DETROIT -- It's been 35 years since an NHL team rallied to win four straight games after losing the first three in a best-of-seven series.
Certainly, the odds are stacked against the Detroit Red Wings as they enter Game 4 of this Western Conference Semifinal with the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN), but the defending conference champion has no intention of going home early for the summer.
And let's not forget that the last time the Wings were on the brink of elimination, they dismantled the Phoenix Coyotes by closing out the opening round with a 6-1 victory in Game 7.

"We know we can go out and play a solid game when our backs are against the wall," Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "That game (against Phoenix) was a good example of what we can do as a team when we have to play with desperation. We can look at that game and some of the positive things we did in that game."
The Red Wings have lost three straight games by a 4-3 score in this series and have spent too much time in the penalty box. After handing the Sharks 10 power plays in Game 2 at HP Pavilion, the Wings were nailed six more times in Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he addressed his team Wednesday and pleaded with his players to not worry about winning four straight.
Just win Thursday.
"We did a lot of our talking yesterday," Babcock said. "The message is, you've got to get your mind right. To get in your mind that you've got to win four games, that's a huge mountain. If you just win a game and get prepared for your first shift, you're fine. I think that's the whole key here. We've got to win a game."
If there's a positive in any of this, it's the fact that the Wings' locker room is loaded with experience. Of course, they haven't spent much time in recent years trailing 3-0 in a series, but Babcock truly believes if any team can overcome such adversity, it's his group.
"I think you have a lot of confidence just because you're a good team," Babcock said. "We've been a good team for a long time and we've found ways to win games. The bottom line is we're in a situation where we've got to find a way to win a game. It doesn't matter whether it's Game 4 or Game 6 or Game 7, when you've got to win, you've got to win."
Speculation in Detroit is that should the Red Wings come up short Thursday, it may be Lidstrom's last game. The 40-year-old defenseman has won six Norris Trophies this decade and became the first European captain to hoist the Stanley Cup in 2008.
Lidstrom said he will address his future when the season ends.
"It's not over yet," Lidstrom said. "That's the feeling I have and that's the mentality in this room. We have to go out and really play with desperation tonight. That's my focus right now."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

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