DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings need their home ice to be an advantage against the San Jose Sharks or they will probably be making vacation plans soon.
The Sharks have taken a 2-0 lead over Detroit with two one-goal wins at home in their Western Conference semifinal.
“You can’t feel sorry for yourself,” Red Wings defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We have to rebound as a team.
“It’s been two close games and they’ve got the break each time.”
San Jose went ahead by two goals early in the third period of Game 2 on Sunday and held on for a 2-1 win. Benn Ferriero scored 7:03 into overtime of the series opener for a 2-1 victory Friday night.
When the series shifts to Joe Louis Arena for Game 3 on Wednesday night, the Sharks are hoping to match Detroit’s sense of urgency.
“We’re going to expect two desperate teams to be playing—we want to be one of them,” said San Jose coach Todd McLellan, a former Red Wings assistant. “We know it’s going to be a tough task in Detroit.
“They’re a proud organization and proud franchise. They believe in what they’re doing and we’ve been there before to experience it.”
The Red Wings have lost the first two games of a series seven times during their two-decade post-season streak and they’ve rallied only once, beating Vancouver in six games of the first round in 2002 before going on to win the Stanley Cup.
Detroit took Monday off as the Sharks flew to the Motor City. Both teams planned to practise Tuesday.
“They’re obviously desperate now,” said San Jose’s Ian White, who scored the first goal of Game 2. “They have nothing to lose. They’re going to come out hard.
“They’re comfortable in their own barn. They’ve done some good things there in the past. We’re going to have to match their intensity level and raise our game even higher.”
The Red Wings may have the sinking feeling that this post-season is playing out like the last one. They got past Phoenix in the first round for the second straight year and then fell behind with narrow losses at San Jose.
The Sharks won the first three games of last year’s second-round series—all by 4-3 scores—lost the next game by six goals at Joe Louis Arena and ended Detroit’s season with a 2-1 win in Game 5.
If the Red Wings are going to get past San Jose, they’re going to have to figure out a way to win on the road.
“We’re disappointed that we weren’t able to steal game here,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said Sunday in San Jose. “We have to steal a game here to win the series.”
But first, the Red Wings have to win at home to simply extend the series.
Sharks captain Joe Thornton expects to see Detroit at its best.
“We feel good, but their backs are against the wall,” Thornton said. “They have home ice. They are going to try to take advantage of us.
“They’re going to be sharp and try to take it to us Wednesday.”