Game in a Sentence
Games between four and five seeds are meant to be as close as it gets and this year’s crop are not disappointing at all. The Wings even up the series here in game two in a game that could have gone any number of ways.
- The Red Wings quick start was really the key to this game in my mind in that it quieted the Nashville crowd a fair amount in comparison to how raucous they were in game one. Likewise, by forcing them to play catchup Detroit forced the Preds to get out of their system and play into how the Wings wanted them to.
- Detroit was visibly frustrating the Predators with their clustered defence, making it hard for Nashville to get shots through to Jimmy Howard, as well as an efficient offensive approach which involved a lot of net crashing and low shots.
- Game one was seized by Pekka Rinne who made big stop after big stop to keep the Wings at bay. In game two, Howard stepped up to the plate and duplicated Rinne’s performance from the opener for Detroit and fought the Predators off.
- Detroit was particularly strong at clogging the neutral zone as the Predators had a very difficult time breaking down their defensive alignment and making their way into the zone. The Preds best offensive chances in game one came from their ability to gain the zone and establish positioning in the Wings end, but an inability to consistently get through Detroit’s trap made it very difficult for them to duplicate the performance.
- My disappointment of the series for Nashville thus far has been Mike Fisher. This is one of the most playoff tested players on the team and he has been totally invisible all series long with the exception of a handful of shifts. He needs to find that other gear very soon.
- The Red Wings have gotten Alex Radulov out of synch with his linemates and are really putting the onus on him to do it all by himself. He looks visibly frustrated on most of his shifts given that he is trying to do too much on his own and it isn’t working.
- Whether or not you believe he should be playing, Shea Weber scoring a goal was a big boost for him and the Predators going forward. The fight with Todd Bertuzzi made him theoretically square under “the code” and he was solid defensively all game. To hit the scoresheet a game after stirring up some controversy will be big for ensuring Weber is loose for game three in Detroit.
- Jonathan Ericsson has been my key defender for the Red Wings thus far. He has really imposed himself nicely on the Predators forwards and has been a key physical presence in front of the net. The fact he logs the minutes that he does also greatly lifts the pressure off of his teammates.
- This is another series where the first tally is incredibly important. Given the different styles they play, having an early lead can really impact the game plan over 60 minutes for either squad as we saw Nashville dictate the flow in game one after scoring early and Detroit returning the favour in game two. Joe Louis Arena will be hostile for Nashville and the Red Wings are strong enough at home as it is. Game three should be the swing game to decide who takes this series.
My Three Stars:
1) Jimmy Howard
2) Jonathan Ericsson
3) Shea Weber