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Red Wings will draw on Game 7 experience

by Staff

The Detroit Red Wings hope this Game 7 visit to California goes better than the last one.

Facing a winner-take-all game against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday (10 p.m. ET, NBCSN, RDS, TSN, FS-D, FS-W), Detroit will draw on its experience from two years ago.

The Red Wings were bounced from the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 3-2, second-round, Game 7 loss to the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion.

Twelve current Red Wings played in that game.

"Just the experience of being a part of something like that I think is definitely helpful in the situation coming up right now," defenseman Niklas Kronwall told the team's website after arriving in the Los Angeles area.

The Red Wings trailed that 2011 game 2-0 and 3-1.

"If you can get off to a good start you're in a better situation, so that would be our focus and try to get ourselves prepared to do that," said coach Mike Babcock, who is 2-2 in Game 7s. "It's been tight all the way through. We think we're in a real good situation, we're excited about the game tomorrow, and we'll get prepared for it."

The Red Wings trailed the Sharks 3-0 in games before winning three in a row to force that Game 7. In this series, the teams have alternated wins.

"I think it's different from when you're down and you play Game 6," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "It's that special feeling of going into Game 7. You don't have a lot of chances to play in them often. It's something special about it."

This could become the third playoff series to have five overtime games, joining last year's Western Conference Quarterfinal between the Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks, and the 1951 Final between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.

Babcock said he hadn't decided if he'll make any lineup changes, but forward Patrick Eaves could take the place of Todd Bertuzzi, Cory Emmerton or Mikael Samuelsson. Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo joined the lineup in Game 6 and is likely to remain, with rookie Brian Lashoff sent back to Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League for their playoff series.

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