“The bottom line is we have to hold serve here,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Friday.
The Western Conference’s top-seeded team got off to a blazing start in the first-round series, beating the Flames 4-1 and 3-1 in games that seemed more lopsided than the scores indicated.
Calgary responded by tying the best-of-seven series with consecutive 3-2 victories at home, where it won an NHL-high 30 games during the regular season.
“It feels like we have some momentum,” Flames star Jarome Iginla said. “Everyone in our room believes if we stay out of the (penalty) box and play as hard as we can, we can win this.”
While the Flames were tough to beat at home during the regular season and in Games 3-4, they were among the worst teams on the road – winning just 13 times – and struggled in the first two games of the series at Detroit.
Iginla said those facts become irrelevant Saturday afternoon.
“At this point of the year, it’s not the record we had before,” he said. “It’s about one game.”
Babcock hopes the Red Wings are resisting here-we-go-again thoughts. Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2002, they’ve had two first-round exits and one in the second.
“One of the key things for me is, this isn’t last year’s team – (and) this isn’t ’04,” he said. “Don’t carry that baggage around.”
Edmonton beat Detroit in Game 5 of the first round last year, taking a 3-2 lead and eventually the series.
Calgary beat the Red Wings in Game 5 of their second-round series in 2004, moving ahead 3-2 before eliminating them.
Iginla is not counting on that history.
“We know it’s going to be the toughest game of the series,” he said.
In what has essentially become a three-game series, Calgary wants to cut down on its penalties while the Red Wings are looking for more efficiency on the power play.
“We have to be more physical and stay out of the penalty box. That’s the key,” Flames coach Jim Playfair said. “I think the thing we learned is that we have to stay consistent with our composure and not get away from what we’re trying to accomplish.”
The Red Wings have had 25 power plays through four games, but have scored with a one-or two-man advantage only twice.
“There’s not much happening,” Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi said. “We have to make smarter decisions.
“The guy with the puck is getting away from the two guys on the other side and being singled out. We got to stay closer together. Keep it simple.”
Babcock did not say what lineup changes, if any, he planned to make Saturday. But Mikael Samuelsson or Kyle Calder could be scratched to get Jiri Hudler back on the ice.