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Zetterberg still has yet to score in series

DETROIT >> Henrik Zetterberg is on the verge of doing something he’s never done as a member of the Detroit Red Wings … not score a goal in a series.

Zetterberg has scored in each of his previous 21 series with the Wings.

“Obviously you want to produce more than I have done,” Zetterberg said. “I had more looks during these games. Game 1 and Game 2 I didn’t play good. After that it’s been better, but obviously it would be nice to see the back of the net.

“You just try to do everything right,” Zetterberg added. “Play good defensively, good at face-offs, and try to lead by example. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Zetterberg has three assists through six games.

“I haven’t (talked to him) and I’m not going to either,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Just play hard (Wednesday) and do a good job.”

He has just two goals in his last 35 games dating back to Jan. 27.

“I think Hank’s doing a lot of good things,” linemate Justin Abdelkader said. “Hank’s a player that even if he’s not on the score sheet he’s going to positively affect the game. He’s our leader. Playoffs are all about different guys chipping in. It’s not always going to be your big-name guys. You see (Steven) Stamkos over there hasn’t scored any goals. I imagine they’re talking about him, too. I think playoffs are about your depth as a team, different guys chipping in. It’s not always going to be your all-stars or superstars.”

Zetterberg does have a knack of stepping up in the big game. In six previous Game 7s he’s appeared in, the Wings captain has three goals and three assists.

Wings didn’t expect NHL verdict on Kronwall … he’s suspended for Game 7 against Tampa Bay

DETROIT >> The worst case scenario has happened to the Detroit Red Wings.

The Wings will be without defenseman Niklas Kronwall for Game 7, Wednesday night at Tampa Bay, after he was suspended for one game by the league for a hit he had on Nikita Kucherov in Game 6.

The league said Kronwall was suspended for “charging.”

“I thought it was a good hit,” Wings coach Mike Babcock prior to finding out what the league decided. “I thought it was, you know he (Kucherov) was leaning back, trying to get out of the way. Kronner’s foot was on the ice when he made contact, elbow tucked in on the side. It went
through him.

“If you go through the series, in Game 2 (Ryan) Callahan did the same to (Danny) DeKeyser. (Monday) night, was it in the second period or the first period, (Ondrej) Palat got (Luke) Glendening exactly the same way.”

Kronwall was not penalized for the hit, during which his elbow made contact with Kucherov’s head as the second period drew to a close. Kucherov, but was back for the start of the third period.

Kronwall is their top defenseman and logs the most ice time of any player and playing in all situations.

“I’ve seen it many times, a lot of slow-motion,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “I think when the contact is made his feet are on the ground. His follow through, I think, hit’s his head, but he has his arms down. His elbow is down when the contact is made, and just got to wait to see what the league thinks.

“He’s a real important for us,” Zetterberg continued. “He plays a lot of minutes, so we just got to wait and see.”

Rookie Alexey Marchenko or Jakub Kindl will be in the lineup.

Wings’ Eastern Conference semifinal schedule … should they advance

The NHL released the semifinal schedule.

Here’s the dates if the Wings win Game 7, Wednesday at Tampa Bay.

#1 Montreal vs. #3 Detroit
Friday, May 1, 7 p.m., Detroit at Montreal … CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN
Sunday, May 3, 6 p.m., Detroit at Montreal … CBC, TVA Sports, NBCSN
Tuesday, May 5, 7 p.m., Montreal at Detroit … USA, CBC, TVA Sports
Thursday, May 7, 7 p.m., Montreal at Detroit … NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Saturday, May 9, TBD, Detroit at Montreal … CBC, TVA Sports
*Monday, May 11, TBD, Montreal at Detroit … CBC, TVA Sports
*Wednesday, May 13, TBD, Detroit at Montreal … CBC, TVA Sports

Kucherov on hit by Kronwall: “He made a hit. I’m not going to cry now. It’s a part of the game. That’s why we play here.”

DETROIT >> Some of the focus after the Wings’ Game 6 loss to the Tampa Bay Lighting Monday was the hit Niklas Kronwall delivered on Nikita Kucherov.

Late in the second period, Kronwall dealt his crushing blow as Kucherov was trying to leave the Lightning’s zone.

Kucherov went straight to the Tampa Bay locker room.

“I mean, it’s intense game, and those things happen,” Kucherov said. “It’s just hits. It’s just a part of the game.

“Not really,” Kucherov added when asked if he had seen the replay. “I saw it I think once, but I couldn’t see the whole thing.”

There was no penalty called on the play.

“It’s a hit,” Kucherov said. “He made a hit. I’m not going to cry now. It’s a part of the game. That’s why we play here.

Kucherov, who said he was fine after the hit, assisted on the first three goals the Lighting scored.

“I haven’t seen it in replay so I really can’t say too much about it,” Kronwall said. “I thought it was a clean hit at the time.”

When asked if the momentum forced him off his skates Kronwall said, “Yeah, usually when you go, the impact itself carries you up.”

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper also said he didn’t see the play.

“It was on that part of the ice that I didn’t see,” Cooper said. “The refs didn’t call a penalty so it must have been OK.”

Henrik Zetterberg thinks it was a clean check.

“When I saw it, it was a clean, hard hit,” Zetterberg said. “He had a good timing there, Kronner, and I don’t think their player saw him.”

The hit was delivered with the Wings trailing 3-1.

“For sure,” Tomas Tatar said when asked if the hit gave the Wings a lift. “He hit Kucherov, one of their good players. Playoffs are a tight game, lots of hits. One of these hits will get the team going, get the building going. We felt like we were on the horse. We let them score the goal 4-2 and kind of took us down.”

Loss of Glendening sparks Lightning comeback win

DETROIT >> With seven minutes and 28 seconds left in the third period, the tide of the Wings’ best-of-seven shifted for their favor to Tampa Bay’s all because the loss of one player … Luke Glendening.

Glendening went out after getting into a scuffle with Victor Hedman after suffering a right-hand injury and needed to be stitched up.

Glendening didn’t return to the game.

And during his absence, the Lightning scored three unanswered goals, all from their triplet line, to even the series with Detroit, 2-2, after a 3-2 win in overtime.

“I’ve watched him in the minors,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “I watched him play when they unfortunately beat us in the Calder Cup. He’s, I don’t know how to describe, he’s an extremely responsible player. There aren’t a lot of guys out there like the Glendenings. He’s done a heck of a job on our guys.

“To lose a player that plays an extremely important role for them, you look back know because we came back to win the game, so it was potentially a huge factor,” Cooper continued. “He’s a good player for them. There’s no question it had an effect because the triplet line there. They just have a vibe going on that first one and for him not to be around I’m sure there was a little bit of an effect.”

Glendening’s line, with wingers Drew Miller and Landon Ferraro, had put the clamps on Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov for nearly six periods at Joe Louis Arena.

That was until Glendening wen out.

“Obviously it was big play in the game,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “I really thought we should be going on the power play there but I can’t control those things. Obviously getting his hand cut and missing the rest of the game matchup-wise, Johnson’s line got the next three goals.”

Johnson scored his first of two with 5:26 left in regulation and Glendening off the ice getting stitches after him and Hedman were sent off for roughing.

Johnson setup Palat for the equalizer just over a minute later.

“That’s just the way the game goes,” Glendening said. “Obviously I was frustrated not being able to be out there. He’s a dynamite player and when he gets time and space he can do special things.

Then, Johnson ended it just 2:25 into overtime.

“I don’t know, you’d have to ask Johnson,” Babcock said when asked why Glendening is so good against the Johnson line. “He’s a good player, he plays hard, he can skate. We think he’s OK. Just like all injuries in playoffs. You really don’t know until game time but the doc says they sewed him up and he’s going to be fine.”

Johnson now has four goals and an assist in the series.

“Just trying to limit their time and space,” Glendening said. “Miller and Ferraro have been great, trying to control the puck when we can. Blocking shots.”

Soon-to-be-37, Datsyuk showing no signs of lettingup

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings know what they’ve got in Pavel Datsyuk.

Wings coach Mike Babcock is worried about who’ll replace him one day.

“Pav’s a real good player, obviously, and to do what he’s doing, we were able to watch Nick (Lidstrom) do it for a long, long time and to see Pav do it at 30, well he’s just about 37, is great,” Babcock said. “It’s a real honor to be around him. He’s a good, good man. He’s a good teammate. He does it right. He leads by example. He’s better without the puck then he is with it if you can imagine that. He’s a great, great player. They only thing that makes you nervous is if he wasn’t here who’s taking his spot.”

On Tuesday, Datsyuk was named a finalist for the Lady Byng Trophy, awarded to the NHL player “adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

“When I come here I don’t think too far,” said Datsyuk, whose rookie season was in 2002. “My mind is too small to think too far. I just like enjoy it year by year and I’m happy where I am now.”

Datsyuk, who had just eight penalty minutes all year, had 26 goals and 39 assists in 63 games. His 65 points ranked second on the team despite missing 19 games with injuries.

“It’s impressive,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “If you look back at the years that he’s played in this league he would probably be nominated every year, and have a good chance of winning every year. He’s a special player and it’s awesome to see that he gets rewarded.”

Datsyuk has won the trophy four times (from 2006-09).

“When I first got here they said Pav couldn’t play in the playoffs,” Babcock said. “It’s the evolution of a player and understanding how hard it is in the playoffs. You don’t get much space and if you don’t score people say you can’t play, well I don’t think that’s the case at all he just evolved in it.

“Pav is a real team leader, he does things right and leads by example,” Babcock continued. “He has great thoughts offensively and defensively. He doesn’t mind sharing his opinion with the coach. He’s a treat to be around to say the least. He’s made me a lot better coach just through his vision and how he understands and thinks the game should be played. He’s a great teammate.”

Only Frank Boucher of the New York Rangers (seven) and Wayne Gretzky (five) have won this award more often than Datsyuk. Former Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Red Kelly also won it four times.

“I think it’s the best trophy ever,” Datsyuk said.

Former Wing Jiri Hudler, who’s now with the Calgary Flames, and Los Angeles Kings’ Anze Kopitar are the other two finalists.

“He’s a great player,” Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos said. “He plays well at both ends of the ice. He’s a smart player and obviously we have to be aware of him when he’s out there.”

Quote of the day

DETROIT >> Wings coach Mike Babcock on his team digging on for Game 4, “I thought (Steven) Stamkos’ line was absolutely dominant in Game 2. They ate us up, we had no answers for them. Is that night to night? I don’t know. What I told our players today, after Game 1, when you win, the other team digs in. They dig in mentally, they get prepared. And then after Game 2, we dig in. The idea in a series is to race to four, not play to seven. It’s to dig in and get going, so our preparation has to be clear. All good players want to respond when they’re not quite as good as they were the game before and all good players want to be dominant every night and if you’re a scorer you like to score.”