Red Wings coach Mike Babcock hasn’t decided on any lineup changes for Thursday’s Game 2 in Anaheim.
Both veterans Mikael Samuelsson and Todd Bertuzzi are healthy and ready to go, but that doesn’t mean they’ll play.
“I think it’s great to have veterans that are ready to go,” Babcock said to reporters in Anaheim Wednesday. “I’ve been around the game a long time … You know when the guy holds out from training camp and gets a new contract? You know how good he is that year? Why isn’t he very good? He missed training camp.
“So now if you haven’t played the whole year, I’ve got to hope that it’s going. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time feeding my family on hope. It’s usually on know.”
Which makes it sound unlikely that Samuelsson and Bertuzzi will get into the game.
The Wings also have veteran defensemen Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo waiting for a chance. Young defensemen Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith and Danny DeKeyser all played in their first postseason game Tuesday night.
“The less they think, the better off they’ll be,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Just go out there and play. If you start thinking out there, you end up in trouble.
“I think they were pretty good (Tuesday) and will get even better (Thursday).”
One thing that could happen is separating Euro Twins Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
The Ducks matched up Saku Koivu’s line against them and felt that it worked to their advantage.
“Our shutdown line has been Saku’s line all year, and it’s not like he’s never done that before,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “A lot of that was, he always played against the best centers, so I thought with Pavel and Henrik and (Justin) Abdelkader not all being 6-foot-4, it might be a fair matchup.”
Andrew Cogliano, who also played his first playoff game Tuesday, said one of the ways his line was able to contain Datsyuk and Zetterberg was to force them to play defense.
“They’re so dangerous through the neutral zone that if you give them any time, they’re going to make plays,” Cogliano said. “They’re so good with the puck, especially Datsyuk with the puck (doing things) that you never really seen before.
“I feel like even when I have the puck on my stick and I’m skating out of the zone, he’s always around or behind me waiting to take the puck off me. The only defense you can play against them is playing on the offense and hopefully create scoring chances yourself.”
Babcock said after the game that the Wings’ defensemen needed to do a better job of moving the puck out to the forwards.
“We couldn’t get it up to them quick enough for some reason,” Kronwall said. “We made it too hard on ourselves, and that’s something we have to look after going forward, make sure we get the puck to the forwards as soon as possible and in speed.”
When you hold the other team to two goals (the third was an empty-netter) and none five-on-five, you give yourself a chance to win. But that won’t work if you don’t score yourself.
And as Wayne Gretzky famously said, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. The Wings had 22 total shots, led by Abdelkader’s four. That number has to go up.
“You’ve got to make the right decision when to shoot and when not to shoot,” Zetterberg said. “And most of the time, it’s better to shoot than not to shoot.”