Morning Skate: Wings need to finish strong


The Detroit Red Wings reverted back to their third-period woes in Game 1 against Chicago.

They got outscored 3-0 and outshot 19-9, which turned a tight game into a 4-1 loss.

The Wings had the same problems early in the Anaheim series during the last round. Detroit was outscored 8-1 in the third period of the first three games against the Ducks.

In eight playoff games so far, the Red Wings have been outscored by a combined total of 15-5 and outshot 86-71 in the third period.

How they address that issue will be a key factor Saturday when Game 2 is played at the United Center in Chicago.

“When we were in the Anaheim series, I thought when we got ahead we played nervous,” Babcock said of the third-period troubles against the Ducks.

As for Wednesday’s meltdown against the Blackhawks, Babcock said, “I thought they skated us into the ground.”

The Wings might have been worn down for the final 20 minutes the other night. They were coming off that seven-game series with Anaheim.

Babcock gave his team Thursday off before returning to the ice Friday for a short practice.

Their legs should be fresh for this one.

“It was really nice to get an extra day,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “We know we’ve got to be a lot better. We know we can be a lot better.

“We weren’t good enough to score goals in the third (period). We didn’t have enough jump.”
GET FRANZEN GRUMPY: Johan Franzen scored 31 goals in 51 playoff games for Detroit from 2008-2010, but he’s been held to six goals in his last 21 playoff games.

He has a team-worst minus-7 rating in the eight playoff games.  All three of his goals this postseason came on the power play, including two in a Game 2 victory at Anaheim.

Can he put together another big Game 2 performance this time to help turn the series around again?

“I think he’s playing the best hockey when he’s a little grumpy,” Zetterberg said of Franzen. “Maybe it’s up to us to get him a little grumpy before games.”
Zetterberg said he planned to try to do that Friday night.

We’ll see if it works
TIME ZONE: If you’re wondering about Saturday’s 1 p.m. start time (noon in Chicago), the game is being telecast by NBC.

The network is also carrying the Preakness horse race on Saturday. That broadcast is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. with post time around 6 o’clock.