With memories of Wednesday night's embarrassing 10-3 loss to St. Louis slowly fading away, the Red Wings are gearing up for another challenge - snapping a four-game losing streak to the Nashville Predators.
The Red Wings and Predators square off tomorrow in Nashville at 3pm, and the undercurrent in the Detroit locker room suggests the players are more concerned about their own business than turning the tide against a possible first-round opponent.
"For us the most important thing is sending a message to ourselves that we're going to turn it around and start to play the way we need to play," said defenseman Brad Stuart. "That's probably our biggest concern, just worrying about us, not sending a message to them or anybody else. Let's get it going in here in this room and let each other know that we're all in this to win games and to compete for each other and that's going to be the most important thing for us."
"I think we have to send ourselves a message," said goaltender Jimmy Howard, who is expected to start tomorrow in Nashville after missing two games with a shoulder injury. "Just looking at the guys across the room and knowing that you're going to go to battle for each other. Everybody likes each other in this dressing room and personally, I don't care what's going on with the rest of the conference. I care what's going on with this team and after the other night, we have a very veteran team and I'm sure they just hit the erase button and going back out there."
Even still, there is a certain urgency associated with facing a squad you might face under elimination conditions within the next two weeks.
"Yeah, of course when you've lost to an opponent four straight times you want to beat them when you get a chance to get a win against them and play well against them to," said captain Nicklas Lidstrom. "We know the details of our game have to improve and have to be better for us to have any success in the playoffs."
Another highlight of today's post-practice media session was Mike Babcock's assessment of fourth-year forward Darren Helm, who continues to mature and contribute.
"We're hoping that's he's gonna be the kind of leader one day that (Kris) Draper is," said Babcock. "That's what we're hoping for (Justin Abdelkader) and him, that they're going to be real, core, vested Red Wings that kind of lead the way around here and he, to me, is growing in his game all the time."