Wings like their position despite Game 4 loss

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Tampa, Fla. — So if someone had told the Red Wings 10 days ago they'd be in this position, would they have taken it?

To be tied 2-2 in a best-of-seven series against Tampa Bay, with two of the three games left at Tampa?

And coming off a shocking 3-2 loss in Game 4 to the Lightning?

Know what? They would have taken being in this position.

"We'd take it 10 times out of 10," forward Justin Abdelkader said. "It was a tough break in overtime, one of those things.

"A lot of people never saw us being in this position. We're confident in our group and we're confident going into Saturday."

Game 5 in Tampa on Saturday (6 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit, CBC, 97.1) begins what amounts to a three-game series.

Each team feels like it has stolen one game in the other team's rink.

Each team feels it's had great moments of hockey in this series, and some not so great.

But the importance of each game is magnified from here on, with the Red Wings heading into these crucial games trying to forget Thursday's nightmare.

The Lightning scored two goals in final 5:26 of regulation — in a span of 1:17 — then scored at 2:25 of overtime to win it.

Tyler Johnson scored the winner and the first goal, and set up the tying goal by Ondrej Palat.

"Obviously it's a shot to the gut," coach Mike Babock said of the way the Red Wings lost. "Anytime you're in a situation where you're in a real good spot and suddenly it goes away that quick, in five minutes, end up losing the game, it's hard.

"But you get on the flight, you get here, and you're done feeling sorry for yourself and get ready for the next game."

Babcock is a big believer in teams battling through adversity — and this situation is a good test of that for the Red Wings.

"Here's some adversity, let's dig in," Babcock said. "This series should be 2-2 and that's where it is. You earned what you got."

All three of Tampa Bay's goals were scored after Luke Glendening had to leave the game with a cut hand suffered from a skate during a scrum near the boards.

Glendening had done a superb job of marking Johnson's line both games in Detroit. But without Glendening on the ice, Johnson was able to dominate in the game's final minutes.

Glendening said Friday he will be ready to play in Game 5.

"We played good yesterday, we have a lot of things we can build on," Glendening said. "The series is a race to four (victories). We have to steal one in their building."

The Red Wings felt they played well enough to win both games at Joe Louis Arena, centered around a better offensive push with four balanced lines and superb penalty killing.

There's still work to do defensively — the breakdowns in Game 4, and an ineffective power play, cost them the game — but the Red Wings are confident.

"The most encouraging thing is we keep getting better," Niklas Kronwall said. "The last few games have been real encouraging. Our power play has to get better but if we keep playing like that, we'll be just fine."

The Red Wings have already won one game in Amalie Arena, winning Game 1, 3-2, despite being outshot, 46-14.

"We're real comfortable the way we've been playing here (Tampa)," Gustav Nyquist said. "We've played real solid the last two games. We just have to keep it going."