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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Will Red Wings be able to seal deal in Game 5? Recent history says no


DETROIT -- Center Pavel Datsyuk, defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and forward Kris Draper did not skate Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena. Draper (groin) is definitely out for Game 5 on Wednesday night, but Datsyuk (foot) and Lidstrom (lower body) are to-be-determined.

"Both guys are feeling better," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock. "We'll see what goes on in the skate tomorrow, see if they're available for that skate."

Blackhawks winger Martin Havlat and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin did not practice at United Center.

"They're day to day," said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. "We'll get a better assessment tomorrow's skate."

Finishing the job
Last spring, the Red Wings were up 3-1 in both the conference finals against Dallas and the Cup finals against Pittsburgh, but lost Game 5 in each case before finishing the job in Game 6 on the road.

"I think there's a lot to draw from that. We've touched on that," Wings forward Dan Cleary said Tuesday after practice. "I've definitely thought about it. You got to come out and have that killer mentality. Put the foot on the gas. Because you're going to get their best effort. They're going to be so desperate, they're a young team and they don't want to go away.

"They have confidence in their ability to come back. We've got to take that away. And it's going to be a tight game. It's not going to be the run-and-gun and undisciplined and power plays like it was in Game 4. It's going to be tight and hard. The team that shows the undisciplined [play] first is going to lose."

The rallying point is simple when you're the Hawks. It's them against the world.

"I don't think anyone gives us a lot of chance or hope," said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville. "I think we got a great group of kids. We've overcome a lot. The enthusiasm we had on a day like today has been very good. Had a good practice. You know, I think we surprised a lot of people all year long. You know, maybe we can surprise them with a win tomorrow and talk about something else going after that."

Replacing Lidstrom
People are still buzzing in Detroit about the Wings' ability to win big Sunday despite not having six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom.

"It's way easier to replace quality players in the short term than it is in the long term, because everyone can lift their level for a period of time," Babcock said. "But, you know, how you gonna play like Nik every night? I haven't seen anybody play like Nik every night, except Nik."