Wings look to finish Hawks in five

The Detroit Red Wings had 3-1 series leads twice in the playoffs last year and failed to advance on home ice either time.

Detroit Red Wings goalie Ty Conklin celebrates with Ville Leino after the Red Wings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 during Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday in Chicago. Detroit leads the series 3-1.

DETROIT — The Detroit Red Wings had 3-1 series leads twice in the playoffs last year and failed to advance on home ice either time.

Detroit did, though, beat the Pittsburgh Penguins to win the Stanley Cup after eliminating the Dallas Stars. Both series ended in Game 6 on the road.

The defending champions would like to make things a little easier on themselves Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.

“You want to finish it as soon as you can,” Detroit defenceman Brian Rafalski said Monday, a day after the Red Wings beat Chicago 6-1 in Game 4. “Obviously, we have some banged-up bodies.

“We want to get them healthy, and the best way to do that is to finish it as soon as you can.”

MVP finalist Pavel Datsyuk (foot) has missed two games, six-time Norris Trophy-winning defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom (lower body-injury) was a surprise scratch Sunday, and four-time Cup-winning forward Kris Draper (lower body) missed Game 4, too.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he hopes Datsyuk and Lidstrom will be back on the ice Wednesday, but ruled out Draper for Game 5.

Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood said the team doctor kept him out of the third period Sunday because of cramps, but insisted he felt “great” on Monday.

“If it had been a closer game, I would have stayed in for sure,” Osgood said.

On the brink of elimination, the Blackhawks are also banged up.

Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) hasn’t played since the second period of Game 4, which Chicago won in overtime, and the team’s leading scorer, Martin Havlat, left the ice in two straight games after getting checked hard.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said the status for both players will become more clear Tuesday.

If Havlat is hesitant to step back on the ice before becoming a free agent this summer, it’ll be understandable. He was hit by defenceman Niklas Kronwall in the first period of Game 3 and by defenceman Brad Stuart in the middle of Game 4.

“The physicality of Stuart and Kronwall is so important for our success at playoff time,” Babcock said.

Rafalski said Kronwall’s open-ice checks remind him of the ones dished out by former New Jersey Devils teammate Scott Stevens. Kronwall was given a major penalty and was ejected from Game 3 for his shot on Havlat.

“He’s not as big as Scotty, but he still delivers,” Rafalski said.

Quenneville delivered the line of the day after Game 4, saying, “I think we witnessed probably the worst call in the history of sports there,” after a roughing penalty on Matt Walker led to Detroit taking a 3-0 lead in the second period.

Just Posted

Alberta hiring more paramedics and buying new ambulances, none for Red Deer

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer is not concerned the provincial government didn’t… Continue reading

‘My nightmare began again’: Close call as bus carrying Humboldt crash survivor rear-ended

CALGARY — A terrifying ordeal for Humboldt Broncos survivor Ryan Straschnitzki this… Continue reading

Halifax airport operations normalize after Boeing 747 runway overshoot

HALIFAX — The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has resumed normal operations a… Continue reading

Bentley family left without a home grateful for community support

Central Albertans are coming together to support a Bentley family left homeless… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP ready for new mandatory alcohol screening law

Red Deer RCMP are ready to enforce a new law intended to… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer and District Kennel Club Dog Show at Westerner Park

The Red Deer and District Kennel Club is holding a dog show… Continue reading

Pence aide out of running to be Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s top pick to replace chief of staff… Continue reading

Swath of South faces wintry mess: Snow, sleet, freezing rain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain… Continue reading

‘I killed my best friend’: Opioids’ fatal grip on mayor, pal

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

Brothers, 20, face second-degree murder charge in death of teen: police

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say two brothers have been… Continue reading

A young mayor, his friend, and a fatal attraction to opioids

MOUNT CARBON, Pa. — Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old,… Continue reading

GM fights to retain key tax credit amid plant closing plans

WASHINGTON — General Motors is fighting to retain a valuable tax credit… Continue reading

TTC union asks provincial government to step in on transition to Presto

TORONTO — The union representing transit workers in Canada’s most populous city… Continue reading

Small pot growers find roadblocks on path to microcultivation licences

Yan Boissonneault’s daughter was turning blue. Without warning, his baby had stopped… Continue reading

Most Read