This game recap format has been stolen by yours truly from our good friends at The Footy Blog and will be deployed as often as I can humanly do it in what is sure to be a ridiculous postseason.
Game in a Sentence
For those of us trying to watch both this game and the Philadelphia/Pittsburgh tilt, the Wings and Preds made it difficult to pry our eyes away with a high paced, back and forth game where a couple of weird bounces and some hard work told the tale.
- Given that this is the seventh meeting of the season between these teams, I figured it would be a bit of a war of attrition between them and I wasn’t far off to start. A lot of cycling and dumping and chasing was the gameplan early as they looked for gaps in each other’s defence.
- The Preds took the early lead on a totally ridiculous bounce. Paul Gaustad threw a puck in front of the net which bopped off of the skate of Brad Stuart and between the wickets of one Jimmy Howard. Gaustad’s first playoff goal was an ugly one, but they all count and that’s what matters.
- I mentioned this in a post earlier this season, but man is Nashville’s crowd ever awesome. From the first period through to the final horn they were loud and in your face. Home ice advantage is really going to be key for them this series as we found out and they are going to have a LOUD barn behind them. Wow.
- Obviously we see the Nashville power play numbers, but man are the Red Wings good on the penalty kill. Down two men they were great at clogging up the passing lanes, and Howard made very solid saves when they needed to be made. That PP could have drastically changed the outcome of the game.
- I really thought the Red Wings approach in the second period was much more appropriate for what the needed to do against this Preds system. They got more low shots through traffic, went fishing for rebounds and drove the crease much more effectively. Zetterberg’s goal was a testament to this.
- In terms of things that didn’t go well for the Wings, does anyone have worse luck than Darren Helm right now? The guy plays his first game for Detroit since March 17 and has to be rushed to hospital because an Alex Radulov skate happens to cut his wrist. Bad news.
- The Preds really tested the Red Wings in the back end to earn their power plays. Lots of pace and hard work around the net got Detroit’s blueliners out of position and taking poor positional penalties: Intereference, Tripping, Holding, etc. The Wings returned the favor in the third with that exact approach, catching the Preds flat footed in their own end.
- Gabriel Bourque, you are now on my personal Sean Bergenheim watch. His first goal happened to hit the shaft of his stick while he was being flung into the end boards. His second was well deserved after some excellent work down low set him up with a wide open one timer in the slot. The beauty of Nashville’s depth is you can get a different catalyst each night. Tonight, it was Bourque on the stats sheet.
- The on-ice catalyst was easily Pekka Rinne (shout-out to Paul Gaustad for some solid work against the Datsyuk line). I don’t care how much money he makes, he’s officially underpaid. He turned aside 35 of 37 Detroit shots and some of these were absolutely outrageous. I give you exhibit A…
- Again, this is going to be an awesome series. The real tragedy is that it was scheduled to take place at the same time as this Philadelphia/Pittsburgh slugfest. A 3-2 final with plenty of chances at both ends should have been the focal point of this story but…
- Will Shea Weber be suspended? The Preds captain decided to bash the face of Henrik Zetterberg off the end boards as time expired despite no provocation. It was literally pointless to do this. In my opinion, Weber needs to get at least two games for this.
- I’m really, really excited for game two. More speed and battles please. Less Zetterberg’s face being thrown.
My Three Stars:
1) Pekka Rinne
2) Henrik Zetterberg
3) Gabriel Bourque