DETROIT -- Nicklas Lidstrom expects his next game-day trip to Joe Louis Arena to be like any other -- even though it might be his last.

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DETROIT -- Nicklas Lidstrom expects his next game-day trip to Joe Louis Arena to be like any other -- even though it might be his last.

The Detroit Red Wings captain planned to carpool and have dinner with Tomas Holmstrom before Game 4 against the Nashville Predators tonight.

While eating their meal, neither Swede plans to wonder if that will be their last supper in the Motor City as teammates.

If the Predators win and take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, though, it might be.

"I don't try to think too much about it," Holmstrom said Monday. "We have to enjoy this playoff and we have to win one game to get back in the series."

Before the first-round series started, Lidstrom reiterated he hadn't thought about whether this will be his last NHL season.

How does he keep that topic off of his mind?

"I've gotten pretty good at it the last two years," Lidstrom joked.

The four-time Stanley Cup champion and seven-time Norris Trophy winner as the league's top defenceman has put retirement on hold in each of the past two off-seasons. He signed one-year contracts, after dodging questions about his decision during the regular season.

Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart has a stall near Lidstrom's in the dressing room and is left to guess, like everyone else, about Lidstrom's future.

"Nobody here knows if Nick is coming back, and I don't think he knows," Stuart said.

Lidstrom won the Norris Trophy last year, putting him within one of Bobby Orr's record of eight, and was subtly stellar again this season. He had 34 points and a plus-21 rating, a stat that equaled Nashville's Shea Weber to rank among the league's top defenceman.

"He'd probably tell you he doesn't recover like he did when he was 20 or 25 or even 35," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "But he's still a pretty good player and important to us."

A week away from his 42nd birthday, the smooth-skating Swede with a great shot doesn't look as though his skills have diminished much.

"It's pretty amazing," the 26-year-old Weber said. "He's a complete player -- very smart -- and still among the best defenceman in the world."

Nashville general manager David Poile insisted he hopes Lidstrom chooses to keep playing -- even though his retirement would help the Predators -- because the game needs him.

"Do you think anybody in hockey doesn't think Lidstrom wouldn't be effective again next season?" he asked. "I don't."

-- The Associated Press