So far in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, third periods are not the Red Wings' best phase.

The Blackhawks and Ducks have outscored them, 15-5.

But how much does it matter, and is there a specific cause?

Through eight games, the Wings have scored more than their opponents in the third period only once.

In Game 4 against the Ducks, they scored two — one by Brendan Smith to tie the game at 1-1 and one by Pavel Datsyuk to tie the game at 2-2 and send the game to overtime. The Wings won that game on Damien Brunner's wrist shot.

In two of the Red Wings' eight playoff games — Games 5 and 6 against the Ducks — they scored as often as their opponents in the third. In those contests, they were 1-1, losing Game 5 and winning Game 6.

Of the remaining five games in which their opponents outscored them in the last frame of regulation, the Red Wings won two and lost three.

Asked about the situation Friday after practice, the Wings generally said they think the scoring imbalance in the third period is less important than addressing elements of their play, like providing their best effort, executing the game plan, taking care of the puck and skating hard.

"I haven't thought about it," said Henrik Zetterberg, who plainly has thought about a lot of other things, after leading his team to a first-round upset over the Ducks before losing in Chicago on Wednesday.

"If you want to win games, I think it's better to score more goals than they do in the third," he said, underlining the logical and fairly obvious.

But, in considering the issue, Zetterberg talked about the Wings' efforts on individual goals, rather than addressing some trend.

"In Game 1 (against Chicago), I think the goal they got when the puck was kind of behind the net there, for a bit, that was kind of an easy one for them," he said, referring to Marcus Kruger's goal, which made it 3-1 Blackhawks, after the puck rested on the mesh on the back of the net.

By rule, the play could have been blown dead within three seconds.

"The second one, they made a good play," Zetterberg said.

"We weren't good enough to score goals in the third. That was the difference.