Wings have home ice, but is it an advantage?

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Mike Babcock: "If you don’t do anything, your crowd isn’t going to help you. You have to play well."

Detroit – The Red Wings have home-ice advantage again but now they have to take advantage of it.

Heading into tonight's Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena, the teams are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series.

What makes tonight's game intriguing is that the Red Wings weren't a great home team down the stretch (5-5-2 last 12 home games) while Tampa Bay wasn't a particularly good road team the entire season (18-16-7).

Home teams are 14-9 in these playoffs, but interestingly only 6-5 in the Eastern Conference.

Is home ice as important as in past years?

"Maybe not as it used to be, but it's still a big deal," Justin Abdelkader said. "Anytime you start a series on the road, your goal is to get one (victory) and we did a good job getting that.

"Maybe we didn't play the way we wanted to play, but coming back home, we can get the start they had in their building and get the crowd into it. Anytime you have home ice you're going to get that extra boost from the crowd."

Wings coach Mike Babcock said if the players play well, the crowd will be into the game.

"The bottom line is you have to help your crowd help you," Babcock said. "If you don't do anything, your crowd isn't going to help you. You have to play well."

Ice chips

Babcock confirmed defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who hasn't practiced between games, will play in Game 3.

...With Abdelkader returning to the lineup, Stephen Weiss will be a healthy scratch.