“I thought we came out of it pretty good, now the key is going to be to bring it again,” said Wings forward Danny Cleary
. “I thought we played very well against Anaheim, mind you, at least to me, they looked very tired.”
The Wings can’t count on their next opponent to be winded.
The Colorado Avalanche come to town Tuesday boasting the league’s best road record (6-1-1), power-play (12-of-45), and winning face-off percentage (53.2%).
“We have to continue to work, do the same things we've been doing,” defenseman Brad Stuart
said. “We finally got the results the last game. We have to continue to do it. It's not going to just happen. Just come out with the same intensity and emotion that we showed last game.”
From one game to the next, the Wings went from shooting a season-low 29 shots – in last Thursday’s 4-1 loss to Calgary – to peppering the Ducks’ net with a season-best 50 shots in Saturday’s win. Every Wings’ skater, but one, registered at least one shot on goal.
“We have to continue to play with confidence,” said captain Nicklas Lidstrom
, who scored twice against Anaheim. “We got rewarded with some goals (Saturday) by going to the net. That's something we have to continue to do. Play real well in our own zone, take care of defense first and when we have chances to go to the net we have to continue to do that too.
“When things aren't going your way and you're pressing too much your confidence level does dip a bit. It happens to all the teams. When you get one win you start feeling better about yourself and you know the system is working, you're doing the right things and you're back on track again.”
But the Wings can’t feel over-confident, as Cleary alluded to; the Ducks were a tired bunch, wrapping up a seven-game road trip in 12 days.
“We needed a win and we didn't care what team we were playing,” Cleary said. “Our focus now is to build on it. We had 50 shots, so that's good. The more we shoot the more opportunity we have to score and the more we have the puck.”
But coach Mike Babcock stressed that his team must play for a full 60-minutes to get a desirable result against Colorado.
“Now we've won one game. So what are we?” Babcock said. “Bottom line is we got a lot of work to do. I like the way we played the last game, played hard. Played hard in lots of games but not scored. But we always say we’ve got to be relentless for 60 minutes, not 40 minutes or 30 minutes.”
And as always, puck-possession, and staying out of the penalty box will be key for the Wings against two of the league’s top drawmen in Avs centers Ryan O’Reilly and Paul Statsny.
“We were fortunate in their building early this year,” said Babcock, referring to the Wings’ 3-0 win Oct. 8. “In saying all that, they've played well. Their power play is deadly on the road. We're going to have to stay out of the box. They've been very good against us. So we know we're going to have our hands full and they need to win and we need to win.
“As a priority you want to have (puck-possession) and the harder you work and the better you play defense, the more you have five guys together the more you have it and the more you have it on offense.”Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill