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Red Wings, Pens jump right back into the fray

by Phil Coffey /
DETROIT -- No time to savor the victory. No time to lick their wounds.

"The good thing is we've got a short period of time here to prepare and get ready for Game 2. We're confident that we can get one here and go home."
-- Sidney Crosby

That's the good news for the Red Wings and Penguins, who hit the Joe Louis Arena ice Sunday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio) in a fast turnaround in the Stanley Cup Final.

For the Red Wings, returning for Game 2 provides the opportunity to take advantage of the momentum gathered in Saturday’s 3-1 series-opening win. For the Penguins, it’s the chance to wash away the bad taste and square the series.

For all involved, it requires making sure certain steps are taken.

"You've got to make sure you get a lot of food in you tonight and get a good night's sleep," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said after Saturday’s game. "When the game starts tomorrow, I think you have to keep the shifts a little bit shorter. Keep your legs going again, but keep your shifts shorter and try to get the four lines rolling as well so everybody gets into it again. It's a quick turnaround, so you have to be ready again tomorrow night."

Both teams have optional skates scheduled in the morning at Joe Louis Arena, and the Pens will have a meeting following their skate. Then there will be a few more hours of rest before returning for Game 2.

The Penguins look at Game 1 and see correctable mistakes, so they are eager to get going again.

"We made a few mistakes tonight, and so did they," center Sidney Crosby said. "They got a few bounces, that's what it came down to. This is tight hockey. We didn't expect to come in here and have it be easy. We knew we were in for a tough series. But we believe in our game. It didn't go the way we want it to tonight. But the good thing is we've got a short period of time here to prepare and get ready for Game 2. We're confident that we can get one here and go home."

Lidstrom, likewise, wants another crack at seeing how this series will develop

"I think maybe the first two shifts were a feel-out period when you try to feel where they're standing," he said of Game 1. "But you have so many skilled players on both sides of the ice, so sometimes you kind of take each other out.

"When you're playing against a really talented team, you have to take away the turnovers. They're a real quick transition team going from defense to offense. That's one of the things we've talked about. You can't give them the chance coming through the neutral zone with speed. We're the same kind of team. We like to have quick turnarounds go the other way as well. So I think you see a lot of similarities with the two teams."

For Lidstrom, Game 2 is another opportunity to shake off the rust accumulated while missing the last two games in the Western Conference Finals with a lower body injury.

"For me, personally, I think getting a few days off helped," Lidstrom said. "I did feel a little rusty early in the game before I got my legs under me. So, you know, it felt good. And I think the team was just excited about being back in the Finals again.
"The team played Wednesday night at home, and we had Thursday off and came in for a light skate yesterday, Friday, so the team was ready to go. And when you're in the Final, everybody's so excited and happy to be here again. So I think you can play with a lot of adrenaline, too."
Wings coach Mike Babcock came away from Game 1 looking to limit turnovers, which were too numerous for his liking Saturday night. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma saw his team pick up momentum in spots and wants to take advantage in Game 2.

"I think we got stronger or did a better job as the game went on," Bylsma said. "I thought our second period was better than the first. I thought we did some good things in the third as well. But Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Final Gearyou're playing a very good team, and you're playing a team that can capitalize, and that's what they did tonight. They played from ahead for a lot of the night. And that's a tough team to come back on.

"We did a lot of good things, but when you look at the game we think there are areas we need to do better," he said. "And we need to do better if we're going to continue to have success in this series.

Seeing his team lose the opener didn't discourage Bylsma. Far from it.

"The focus of this is a race to four," he said. "They've got one on us. We have to keep trying to dictate, play our game, and get them to make their ‘D,’ force their ‘D’ to play at a pace where they have to go back and deal with our speed and skill. And we did that for periods of the game, but we can do a better job of that. And that's the goal. They got one, and we've got to come back tomorrow."

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