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The second slide mentioned how the Red Wings were able to deny shots by the Blackhawks in Game 2, limiting them to just 20 for the entire game. That trend needs to continue, but it is the defense that will be relied upon heavily in this task.
The defense stepped up in Game 2, with Brendan Smith jumping into the rush and netting the game-winning goal. But it is not on offense where the Red Wings' defense will be asked to contribute the most. Instead, it is in clearing pucks out of the defensive zone.
This Blackhawks team is very skilled, so it goes without saying that any turnover is a chance for Chicago to score. The Red Wings have only had six giveaways in each of the first two games, but it was limiting Chicago's time and space in the Red Wings' zone that paid the most dividends for Detroit.
Head coach Mike Babcock was full of praise for his younger Red Wings' squad on NHL.com.
Our guys have gotten better. You have to give them credit. We've had great growth from within—I think the most since I've been in the National Hockey League, for sure. That might just be because we've got a different type of team. We've got a whole bunch of kids, so there is a chance for growth.
The issue for the Red Wings is whether that growth will continue going into Game 3 and the rest of the series. The Red Wings' defense, a rag-tag group to start the season, has come together well in nine playoff games so far.
The key for Detroit in the rest of the series is not taking any steps backward as a defense. They have come too far collectively to start regressing in the progress that they have made.