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Detroit hoping there's no place like home

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- For the first time in a week, the Red Wings will be able to unpack their bags, stop living out of suitcases and get to spend some time at home.

They're hopeful that returning to the friendly confines of Joe Louis Arena also will help them get back into their Western Conference semifinals series with the San Jose Sharks.

"Every time we go home, we're happy," Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk said after Sunday's defeat put them down 2-0 in the series. "We lost today, it doesn't matter what I say. We're going back home and we need to win the game."

It can't hurt after the Wings dropped 4-3 decisions in each of the first two games at HP Pavilion.

"Well, the big thing is, no fans ever scored any goals," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Let's get that straight. But the reality is, we've been a pretty good team all year. We've played better on the road in the playoffs, to tell you the truth. But now we've got to go home and we've got to get ourselves regrouped.

"We'll stay here tonight, we have a travel day tomorrow and we have lots of time to get things straightened out and get ourselves ready to play. We have to answer the call and hold serve at home. As long as you hold serve at home, then you're back here for a best of three."

The Wings lost two of three games on home ice in their first-round series with the Phoenix Coyotes, but they posted a 25-10-6 record at the Joe during the regular season and the Sharks haven't enjoyed much success in Detroit.

"It'll be nice to get home ice again," Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We're down 2-0 in this series, but we're heading home. It's going to be an important Game 3 coming up in Detroit. We're confident playing at home, but playoffs is different than the regular season. We know we have to play a lot better for 60 minutes to have success against this team.

"A few minutes here and there, I think we've played some pretty good hockey, so you have to take the good things that we did and take those back home.

"I think we did play a lot better once we settled down again. We have to keep doing the good things that we're doing out there. We have to stay out of the box a little bit more, but we're doing a lot of good things five on five."

The Wings did score first Sunday when Datsyuk beat Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov with a wicked wrist shot at 6:51 of the opening period, but San Jose responded with goals from Joe Pavelski and Ryane Clowe just 1:31 apart.

"The first 10 minutes in this series has been bad," Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg said. "After that, we've been playing pretty good hockey. We have to make some adjustments, I think, on special teams and try and stay out of the box.

"We're looking forward to going home. We've been out for a week now. It's nice to be home and to see the families and spend the day at home and prepare for Game 3."

Author: Rick Sadowski | Correspondent

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