DETROIT (AP) -The Detroit Red Wings earned a long weekend off after sweeping Colorado, making at least one child very happy.
``My 8-year-old daughter, Kennedi, told me we had to win Game 4 so that I could go to her figure-skating performances because I rarely can go,'' forward Kris Draper said Monday. ``She had four and I made three of them.
``So, we had time off and I spent almost all of it at a rink.''
The Red Wings were back on their skates Monday - four days after eliminating the Avalanche - and were relieved to finally know who they'll face in the Western Conference finals.
The sixth-seeded Dallas Stars got past the San Jose Sharks in the eighth-longest game in NHL history, winning 2-1 in the fourth overtime of Game 6.
Some players stayed up to watch the game that ended after 2 a.m. and some woke up to find out that Dallas was up next.
Detroit doesn't know if it will be rested or rusty Thursday night in Game 1 against the Stars.
But the NHL's top-seeded team is hoping the long break will help at some point in its quest to return to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since winning it all in 2002.
``I've always felt with a layoff like this, if you go deep into a series, that's where hopefully it'll pay off a little bit,'' defenseman Chris Chelios said. ``We're healthy and looking pretty good.''
That's an understatement.
The Red Wings aren't slowed by any significant injuries and they've been unstoppable since goaltender Chris Osgood replaced Dominik Hasek, winning six straight games against the Avs and Nashville Predators after the opening series was tied 2-all.
Johan Franzen already has 11 goals through two rounds, setting a Red Wings record for goals in one postseason. He had nine goals against Colorado, breaking another mark in the storied franchise's record books for goals in a series.
The player known affectionately as Mule by his teammates - and a growing number of fans - is hoping the rest doesn't make him rusty.
``It could be both good and bad, resting this long,'' Franzen said. ``You get out of the rhythm a little bit, but at the same time you heal up your body.''
Franzen has turned Detroit's second line into a top priority for opponents, but he insisted teams will still focus on the top forwards: Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom.
At the other end of the rink, the Red Wings are playing well with five-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom leading a defense that is helping Osgood permit 1 1/2 goals a game.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock expects Dallas to have an edge in the series - briefly.
``It's always an advantage for the team that played more recently in the first 20 minutes,'' Babcock said. ``After that it's definitely good to have the rest. We had a bunch of bumps and bruises last series and this gives us the opportunity to feel fresher.
``We'll be prepared, but in the end it's going to be will and determination and being relentless.''

Top NHL Public Bets

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Stanley Cup Game 6 Pick The San Jose Sharks hope to force a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight...
Thumbnail Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Pick Will the Pittsburgh Penguins close out the Stanley Cup Final tonight when they host the San Jose Sharks in...
Thumbnail Stanley Cup Final Game 4 Pick Can the San Jose Sharkseven up the Stanley Cup Finalwhen they host the Pittsburgh Penguins...
Thumbnail Penguins vs. Sharks Game 3 Pick Can the San Jose Sharks get on the board in the Stanley Cup Final when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 at...
Thumbnail Sharks vs. Penguins Game 2 Pick The 2016 Stanley Cup Final continues tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the San Jose Sharks at 8PM ET...
More inNHL Articles  

NHL Top Stories

Thumbnail Stanley Cup Game 6 Pick The San Jose Sharks hope to force a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight...
Thumbnail Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Pick Will the Pittsburgh Penguins close out the Stanley Cup Final tonight when they host the San Jose Sharks in...
Thumbnail Stanley Cup Final Game 4 Pick Can the San Jose Sharkseven up the Stanley Cup Finalwhen they host the Pittsburgh Penguins...
Thumbnail Penguins vs. Sharks Game 3 Pick Can the San Jose Sharks get on the board in the Stanley Cup Final when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 at...
Thumbnail Sharks vs. Penguins Game 2 Pick The 2016 Stanley Cup Final continues tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the San Jose Sharks at 8PM ET...
More inNHL Articles  

NHL Team Pages