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Turning shots into goals is Job 1 for Red Wings

by Eric Stephens / NHL.com

"I'm a big believer that over time, you're going to get a tip that goes in or you're going to get a rebound that comes to you eventually. Right now, that's not happening but that's just part of the process. Stay with it. Good things will go your way."
-- Mike Babcock

ANAHEIM -- If a hockey game was decided by the number of shots one team took, the Detroit Red Wings would have a commanding lead in this best-of-7 Western Conference Semifinal.

Of course, it's about goals, and the defending champions aren't scoring enough of them against the upstart Anaheim Ducks.

Despite holding a 145-93 shot advantage that includes a decisive disparity in each of the first three games, Detroit has managed to put only seven of them past Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller.

Game 4 is Thursday night (10:30 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN, RDS) at the Honda Center.

"Anytime you're not scoring, you go through that," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "The first thing you say is are you getting to the net. Well, we're getting to the net. But in last night's game, we didn't get any second chances or not enough second chances.

"There was a real good play where shorthanded, the kid made a real good save on (Marian) Hossa and the rebound was laying right there for Pav (Pavel Datsyuk). We didn't get it. Same thing when (Brad) Stuart made a play. We didn't get it. So you have to get some of those, especially when a guy's going."

The Ducks have only eight goals, but they have a 2-1 advantage in a tightly played series where every game has been decided by one goal. They managed to hold on for a 2-1 Game 3 win Tuesday night even as Detroit outshot them, 18-3, in the third period.

It's that kind of one-sided play that has Babcock believing his team is due to break out.

"I'm a big believer that over time, you're going to get a tip that goes in or you're going to get a rebound that comes to you eventually," he said. "Right now, that's not happening but that's just part of the process. Stay with it. Good things will go your way."

The Red Wings said all the right things after their workout Wednesday at the Honda Center. To a man, they felt they did all the right things offensively but weren't rewarded.

"We got some quality shots," said Hossa, who nearly tied Game 3 in the waning minutes of the third period. "Some shots we're trying to shoot at his pads and create confusion and rebounds and stuff like that.

"It's a battle out there. It's hard to fight for them, but you just have to keep going. There are lots of loose pucks. We made some rebounds. We just have to keep after them. I'm sure when there's a rebound that comes to us, we're going to put it in."

A main focus for Detroit in Game 4 will be getting its puck-possession game going from the first drop. Although the Red Wings have dominated the third period in each of the first three games, Anaheim has been able to impose its dump-and-chase style from the start and occupy space in the offensive zone.

"I think we have to have more urgency earlier in the games," Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "I don't think we've had the quick starts that we've wanted to (have). Taking penalties early in the game kind of slows you down as well. You don't get the rhythm going and they're going to have a lot more puck possession.

"You've got to get skating earlier and try to stay out of the box early in the game."

The Red Wings never faced a series deficit in any of the four they played en route to winning the Cup last season. They haven't been down in a series since they lost Game 5 of the West Finals to Anaheim in 2007, which the Ducks eventually won in six games.

Detroit Red Wings Playoff GearAfter a four-game sweep of Columbus in the opening round, Detroit now faces a must-win situation in Game 4 to avoid going back home needing to win out.

"The reason the playoffs are so great and so exciting this time of the year, for anybody that's been through it, is that winning that trophy is beyond special," Babcock said. "And what makes it so special is how hard it is to do. It's not supposed to be easy. You're supposed to go through some battles. And each year there's battles.

"You don't remember them when you win the series but there are huge battles in every series. You've got to find a way to get through it. We're being tested right now. We've got to find out if we're mentally hard enough and want it bad enough."


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