Travel-weary Red Wings look forward to extra day off, recharging before Game 2 vs. Blackhawks

The Detroit Red Wings logged more than 12,000 air miles in three round trips to the West Coast while playing every other night in the first round of the playoffs against Anaheim.

They were grateful for the extra day off before the second round. And they’ll gladly take their additional day of rest before Game 2 against the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday afternoon.

They will look to get refreshed Thursday, after faltering Wednesday in the final two periods of a 4-1 loss in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals. They’ll practice on Friday and hope to have much more jump in Game 2 Saturday afternoon at the United Center.

“We got to get up to speed because we haven’t played like that in a while,” coach Mike Babcock said. “So just getting some energy back in us.

“We thought we were actually playing (Tuesday) and we really felt the break was going to help us and the way this series is set up we have no reason not to be very good next game. So we got to get back at ‘er and playing at a high tempo because obviously they were playing at a (high) level (Wednesday).”

The Blackhawks made one short trip to Minnesota in the first round and earned a five-day break between rounds.

“Maybe it had to do something with the rest, (but) it seemed like after the first period they had their legs and we didn’t,” Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “We have tomorrow off, take full advantage of it and then get a good skate on Friday.

“We played a lot of hockey in the last little time and with a lot of travel. The day off and sleeping in our own beds will do us well.”

The Red Wings have dropped Game 1 in each of their past four series. All have come on the road.

“We’ve been in this position before,” Howard said. “We were in this position last series. It’s one game. They definitely played better than us. Saturday we have to respond.”

Said Damien Brunner: “It’s good for us to get a day off. We came off a seven-game series. That’s not an excuse. But, I think we take that day off.”

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