Instead of skating Wednesday, the Red Wings chose to work off the ice.

Some players even took to another sport — soccer — to relax.

In a way, it was fitting, considering many Red Wings felt they kicked away an opportunity to take an early advantage against the Ducks in the first round.

The Red Wings simply didn't play well in a 3-1 Game 1 loss.

Which makes tonight's Game 2 that much more vital.

"We understand the importance of Game 2," said forward Daniel Cleary, who scored the lone Red Wings goal Tuesday on the power play. "The key for any team on the road is to get a split. … We feel if we play the way we know we can, things will work out for itself."

What hurt and irritated the Red Wings most was:

Their inability to generate any speed with the puck;

Their inability to put any pressure on the Ducks; and

Their inability to get the puck from the defense to the forwards.

Mike Babcock compared it to the first half of the season, when the team's fractured play was common with so many new faces in the lineup.

"As a group, we didn't feel we played very well," Babcock said. "We didn't execute very good coming out of zone, we didn't have much speed, therefore we didn't have much attack time. Too much separation between four forwards and defense. We didn't have energy on our forecheck.

"We didn't like our game very much."

There wasn't anything the Ducks did that surprised the Red Wings. Anaheim played its usual grinding, defensive game.

"We have to be a lot stronger on the puck and not turn it over, be a little harder to play against in their zone and not be one (shot) and done," goaltender Jimmy Howard said.

Said Cleary: "The only surprise was we just didn't play hard enough on the puck, or fast enough."