Wings miss playing rival Chicago; 2013 playoff loss to Blackhawks still stings

DETROIT >> The loss overtime loss in Game 7 of the 2013 playoffs to the Chicago Blackhawks is still fresh in many of the Wings’ minds.

“The puck goes off Kronner’s skate and finds a way in,” Brendan Smith said of the game-winning goal that clanked off Niklas Kronwall’s skate and past Jimmy Howard. “It’s definitely frustrating. I thought we played really well. That year a lot of people ruled us out way before we even started the playoffs. It sucks we couldn’t finish off that one. It’s all good, but it’s tough to swallow still.”

The Blackhawks went on to win the Stanely Cup, beating Boston in six games.

What might make the loss in seven games a tougher pill to swallow is the fact Detroit was up 3-1 in the series.

“I thought it was a great series, overall,” Gustav Nyquist said. “We couldn’t finish them off. That series had a lot of emotions to it, with a lot of ups and downs. I think it was fitting that the last game went to OT in a Game 7. Unfortunately we couldn’t come up with a win there.”

The Wings host the Blackhawks on Friday, which will be Chicago’s only visit to Joe Louis Arena unless both teams reach the Stanley Cup finals.

“I miss playing a lot of the Central teams, especially Chicago,” Jimmy Howard said. “It’s always a fun atmosphere. Always an up temp game, fast, playoff atmosphere like. I’m expecting a lot of the same tomorrow.”

“These were games you were looking forward to the most every year,” Jonathan Ericsson saisd. “Tough games, fast paced games. They have a good team, we have a good team so they’re always good games. It’s a good rivalry between us.

“It is,” Ericsson continued. “I miss playing these guys. It’s always special. It’s a game with a lot of battles in it. There’s a rivalry. We’ll find new competitors and rivals in the East, but I sure miss playing these guys. If I would say one team I miss the most from the West, it’s Chicago.”

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