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Thursday, June 6
Updated: June 7, 12:02 AM ET
 
Red Wings pass the pressure back to 'Canes

By Brian Engblom
Special to ESPN.com

ESPN's Brian Engblom breaks down Detroit's 3-1 win over Carolina in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals:

In Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, the Detroit Red Wings ebbed and flowed.

The Wings came out with a lot of push, which is what they wanted to do early in the game. In the second period, they faded a bit (although Carolina did a great job of jamming it up the middle and doing all the things they do well). In the third period, the Red Wings came back to life again and really pushed the Hurricanes hard.

Nicklas Lidstrom and the Kris Draper line really led the charge. The Grind line was outstanding and proved that it's not always just the big stars who can take the reins. They did what they had to do. Lindstrom was enormous and was the biggest difference-maker in the game by far. He was on the edge throughout.

Meanwhile, the Hurricanes continued to do what they do best. They're patient and hang in there, which makes the opposing team nervous -- and they were definitely making the Red Wings nervous. But Detroit's experience came through. Even though they were nervous, the Red Wings didn't just sit back, they continued to push.

When Lidstrom scored that third-period game-winning goal, you could feel a sense of relief throughout the building. Then, BOOM, Draper's killer instinct added another one, which was just huge.

After the game, when I asked Draper if he considered this win critical, he responded, "Oh yeah, absolutely." There's no way the Red Wings wanted to go to Carolina down two games -- especially with all the energy that will be in Raleigh on Saturday

While right now momentum may be on Detroit's side, throughout these playoffs, I haven't seen many teams sustain momentum from one game to the next. I'm not so sure it's carried from game to game anymore. These days, teams are so mentally prepared that they do a good job of not letting momentum adversely affect them. The losing team thinks it's done and over with and that every game is a new entity. I've seen more of that this year than ever before.

What Detroit will take with it to Carolina is the ability to relax and play a good road game. As we know, with their experience, the Red Wings are one of the best road teams in the NHL.

The pressure has definitely shifted back to Carolina for Game 3.

The Hurricanes will be at home and their fans will be going nuts. The 'Canes will have to channel all of that incredible energy. If things don't go well early on and Detroit scores a few goals, then we'll see how this young team reacts. They've been tremendous in the first two games in the finals and tremendous through the whole playoffs -- now the pressure shifts back on their shoulders and it's time for Carolina to react.

Former NHL defenseman Brian Engblom, who won three Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens, is a hockey analyst for ESPN.



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