Red Wings find themselves in familiar territory

DETROIT — It’s really not a surprise, is it?

After all, nothing ever comes easy for this edition of the Detroit Red Wings.

Five weeks ago, Detroit had to string together four victories in the last week of the season just to make the playoffs.

Two weeks later, they faced elimination twice and had to win back-to-back games, including a Game 7 on the road against the No. 2 seed Anaheim Ducks.

So, this Wednesday night in Chicago, the team that continuously teeters on the brink of elimination will be right back on the edge – needing to win a hockey game or the final curtain will finally be drawn on its improbable season.

“Going in to this series if you would have said we’d have a chance to play a Game 7 in Chicago, we would have been pretty happy about it,” Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said after his team dropped a 4-3 decision Monday night to the Blackhawks, which forced a winner-take-all Game 7.

Zetterberg’s declaration about the series going seven games was a common theme throughout the Wings dressing room. Players and coaches were all talking up Game 7 and they were not dwelling on missed opportunities.

This is a team that has already been written off so many times that whatever is said or speculated about them doesn’t really rattle them one way or another.

“We’ve been here before,” said Zetterberg. “We played OK tonight. We just got to build on it and when we have a lead, we have to keep our composure.”

If you really break down Monday’s loss, mistakes and another third period meltdown were the Red Wings’ downfall.  

“They got what we gave them. Period. If I would’ve told Detroit and Michigan we would play in Chicago in Game 7, I think everybody would be excited about that,” said Detroit coach Mike Zetterberg . . .  I mean Babcock. “I love Game 7s. We’ve got a chance to push them out of the playoffs. It should be a lot of fun.”

Granted, the penalty shot call heard around the hockey world, was suspect, – it appeared that the Blackhawks’ Michael Frolik lost control of the puck before Carlo Colaiacovo’s hook/slash – but the Wings can’t dwell on a controversial call.

“It’s behind us now, there’s nothing we can do about it,” Colaiacovo said. “This is the result; we just have to focus on the Game 7 now.”

Fellow Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall echoed Colaiacovo, telling the press, “It doesn’t matter how everything happened. We got to flush it, move on, and stay positive. When we do the things we want to be doing, we’re a really good team. We got to stick with it and keep believing.”  

Whatever it is, it’s been working all season long for the Red Wings, it’s tough to write them off again, but unless their big guns lead the way, they could get blown out in the Windy City.