Henrik Zetterberg ambled up to a handful of journalists Tuesday afternoon, noted that they must be out of questions after already having gone through mini-pressers with three others, and smiled.

“Well-played by me,” Zetterberg said.

This is the time of year Zetterberg does everything well, from growing a playoff beard to discussing the global index of life satisfaction to, oh yeah, playing in Game 7s.

Zetterberg will lead his Red Wings into the cacophony that is the United Center tonight for the series finale against the Chicago Blackhawks. If they win, the Wings are packed and prepared to fly directly to California, having been unofficially told the Western Conference finals will start Friday.

The Wings already have had two opportunities to advance after taking a 3-1 lead, but the Blackhawks kept pushing Detroit back from the finishing line, especially so Chicago captain Jonathan Toews.

If the Wings need a boost of confidence, they can count on their captain to have a big closing performance. Zetterberg leads his teammates with eight points in seven career Game 7s; typical of the star power that he is, he shines the brightest when it most matters. On top of that, the Wings also field one Pavel Datsyuk, who has five points in six Game 7s of his career. Datsyuk has one goal in the Chicago series, which by his coach’s math means Datsyuk is due.

“Everyone talked about Toews for a long time, it’s the same thing,” Mike Babcock said. “When you’re due, and you’re a good player and you work hard and determined, eventually you’re going to break out.

“To me, those guys are like money in the bank as far as I’m concerned. Anybody who’s a scorer, who’s getting shots on net, is bound to score. If you’re not getting any shots on net, if you’re not getting any looks, then that’s a different story.”

Datsyuk isn’t the only guy due; given how much freedom Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen get thanks to playing, respectively, with Zetterberg and Datsyuk, both should have more production. Franzen is Detroit’s Marian Hossa, and Hossa blew a little wind out of Detroit’s sail with a power-play goal Monday night. That helped the Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory, and into tonight’s scenario.

That this series will finish with a Game 7 isn’t surprising given how competitive both squads are; it just looks a little worse for the Wings because it only has been a few days since they had a stranglehold on the Blackhawks.

Going back game by game, Zetterberg said that “if you look at it except for the first game in here, I think it has been close games. It is little things that decides which way it is going to go. The last two has kind of been going their way a little bit. We just have to change that.”