A day after a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles, Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock gathered his team together and implored them to play with higher intensity as the regular season winds down.
"If we think that we took a step in a positive way in the way we played, then we gotta take another step tomorrow," said Babcock. "Usually what happens is when you're on a roll, you win a few games you shouldn't and when you're not on a roll, you probably lose a few games you shouldn't on the way out, so ideally, if we dig in we're at that spot."
"We've kind of been in a slump for awhile now," said Henrik Zetterberg. "We're doing good things and all of a sudden we're playing well, but we can't really find the consistency that we need to have come the postseason. We just gotta go back and play and believe in ourselves and keep doing good things."
Jimmy Howard, who stopped 24 shots last night in the loss to the Kings, feels the Red Wings are close to breaking through and regaining their edge.
"It's funny how this game works sometimes," said Howard. "That was probably our best sixty-minute effort in a while, we probably deserved better. Every single team that we play right now is pushing for the playoffs, it's a battle out there. It's a battle to get to the get to the front of the net and create havoc."
Nicklas Lidstrom, who received four stitches in his lower lip after taking a high stick to the face that was missed by the officials last night, understands the team needs to get things rolling with only 15 games left in the regular season.
"We haven't played as well as we know we can," said Lidstrom. "We have to. We're kind of in a situation where we want to play well. If we want to play well we have to continue to get better as a team. So tomorrow is just another game for us where we have to play better as a team."
Edmonton comes to town losers of two straight and out of the playoff race, yet the Oilers have amassed a 7-5 record since February 15. They are the midst of a five-game road trip that's taken them from Colorado to Philadelphia to Washington before tomorrow night's stop at Joe Louis.
NOTES: Brian Rafalski, Patrick Eaves and Chris Osgood all practiced with the team Thursday afternoon. Each player was evasive when asked about when they might return. Only Osgood hinted at a return date, saying it was likely he'll return to action next Thursday when the Red Wings play at Columbus. Osgood is recovering from sports hernia surgery, Rafalski is out with a bad back and Eaves is battling a groin injury.