Update (1:56 PM): No lineup changes for the Wings. - Matt
Update (12:33 PM): Gill’s out, per Trotz. Wings with the optional skate, too. - Matt
Tonight, the Wings’ season is on the line. They’re on the road again, having lost their two home games and need to find a way to repeat Game 2’s result in order to continue forward in the series.
All the Predators need to do is squeak out a win.
Key to the game for them:
- Pekka Rinne: Just one for the Preds tonight. Because it all comes down to Pekka. If he owns the Wings, the Predators get the series. It’s that simple.
The USS Hal Gill took a few more spins around the harbor yesterday and might be ready for blockade duty tonight. I hope the Wings’ blockade runners are ready for that possibility. He’s a game-time decision.
So far, the Wings have faced a couple what you might call soft must-wins situations in this series. Tonight, they face their first hard must-win situation. They really do have to win.
Keys to the game for the Wings:
- Puck carrier, this is the middle: Mike Babcock says the Wings haven’t had trouble getting to the middle. That may be true, but the part of getting to the middle that matters is getting the puck there with you. I don’t think the Wings have done that as much as Babs would have us believe. They need to do it tonight. Rinne is going to stop perimeter shots all night long.
- Jimmy: I would love to see the Wings own this game in every phase of it, but the most critical claim of ownership needs to be made by one James Tiberius Howard. He’s been solid, but tonight he needs to be stellar.
- Puck Ownership: This is just about as critical a claim of ownership that needs to be made. The puck is the property of the Detroit Red Wings tonight. It has to be. And the only appropriate storage place for it is the back of of the Nashville net.
The Wings skated yesterday but haven’t hit the ice in any fashion yet today. My guess is they’ll be optional again. Shouldn’t be any lineup changes.
Eric Furlatt and Francois St. Laurent are reffing tonight. I don’t recognize either, so I had to look them up. Furlatt’s most memorable reffing moment is when he first officiated a Red Wings playoff game. So there’s that. St. Laurent’s bio says this is his first playoff game, but that can’t be right. Right?