Posts tagged “Predators”

Work to Do

So that’s it. The Wings are done in five.

This sums up the situation for me:

(“Tom” being autocorrect for “ton”, obviously)

This group had the potential to go the distance, but couldn’t put it together. I don’t know where they go from here, but it’s going to take work to get back where they want to be.

I just hope it wasn’t the last we see of Nick Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom. Not the way I want either of them to go out. They deserve to end it at home, at least.

Kudos to Pekka Rinne and the Predators. They worked hard and earned this.

No recap for this game. But I’ll be around.

Game 5: @ Nashville

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?

Game 4: Wings 1, Predators 3

The Goal: If the Wings do end up going out of the playoffs to the Predators, Nashville’s second goal last night will be the moment I’ll go back to as The Moment. In a year full of plenty of bad defensive plays, that one takes the cake. It’s honestly hard to imagine a positive way forward from there. That’s the kind of play you see during a pee-wee intermission scrimmage, not from men collectively making $14.2 million.

Not far behind it is the way three Wings flow to the left side of the ice on the Predators’ first (counted) goal.

Fruitless Dominance: The Wings owned this game territorially pretty much from start to finish. At least, they owned everything but the homeplate in the Nashville end.

And it counts for jack. Because they couldn’t crack Pekka Rinne, who they’ve turned into a composite of the NHL’s all-time goaltending greats by taking the majority of their shots from the outside. Take a look at the Ice Tracker (take out the Predators and check just the Shot box). If that doesn’t make you said, you’re a disgustingly cheery person.

The Predators were on the road to victory every minute of ice time it was tied at zero.

Zetterberg: Followed not too far back by Jimmy Howard, Z is the one Wing to consistently show up on virtually every shift so far in this series. I hope this at least shuts up his detractors. Though I will say I was pretty annoyed by the late penalty. That was unfortunate.

Quincey: Had his best game of this tour as a Red Wing. A pity it was wasted.

Lidstrom: Looked disturbingly human. I don’t want my last sight of him on the ice to be him losing the puck at the blueline. Please bring back android Nick, Nick.

I’ve Got Nothing More: I don’t know what else to say about this game. The Wings need to find a way to dominate Game 5 in a way that’s actually fruitful. Or get dominated in the same way the Predators were and squeak something out. Anything else, and they’re done. And we’ve got some big questions.

The Saddest Play of the Season

You know.

The Root of Sadness

This is where Ian White sees somethings shiny to his right and ignores the perfectly good, nearly as shiny thing right in front of him.

Why?

This is where three Red Wings chase Martin Erat like he stole their wallets.

Sadness

Now he stole Jimmy Howard’s wallet too.

Crap

This is where they all realize Kevin Klein is about to steal their car. The wallet thefts were just a ruse hiding the bigger plan!

Slam Dunk

This is where Kevin Klein steals their car while Martin Erat counts the money he stole as he stands in the corner.

What just happened?

That’s what Ian White is asking while Nick Lidstrom skates away shaking his head and Jimmy Howard double-checks the cash he hides in his pads.

We don’t know, Ian. We don’t know.

Game 4: vs. Nashville

Alright, so it’s Game 4. And it’s the most important game of the series so far.

The Preds have a chance to take a 3-1 lead and set up a potential series clinching win in Game 5. That’s their number one consideration tonight and is sure to have them playing their best.

Keys to the game for the Predators:

  • Rinne: He needs to play out of his mind, like he did in the third period Sunday.
  • Power Play: I’m guessing the Wings are going to have trouble staying out of the box again. Just a guess. The Predators need to take advantage.
  • Ping Pong Energy: From the Predators’ perspective, Todd Bertuzzi taking away the ping pong table might have been the best thing for them. Ping pong games can use up a lot of energy, you know. More seriously, the Predators just need to play with energy and be on the puck always.

The USS Hall Gill sailed today but it was just test maneuvers. He won’t play.

The Wings need to avoid going down 3-1 to the Predators, needless to say. As bad as they are on the road, they can’t afford to face an elimination game in Nashville. So, this is a must-win situation for them.

Keys to the game for the Wings:

  • Bertuzzi: Whether or not you believe the full story of the ping pong thing, there’s no doubt Bertuzzi was involved somehow. That’s a sign of irritation that I’m hoping will translate into something on the ice tonight. Make this your game, Todd. And bask in adoring chants of your highly chantable name.
  • Franzen: I thought he was more or less effective Sunday, but he needs to graduate from effective to dominant tonight. You’re due, Johan.
  • Datsyuk: The Wings’ third period was sparked by Pavel waking up. If he’s awake the whole game, it’s hard to see the Wings losing.

It was an optional skate today (which worked last time, if you recall. Sunday doesn’t count. There was no skate.). Babcock hasn’t settled on lines, but the media’s telling us to expect Top Line Cleary and Third Line Bertuzzi.

Apart from the three dudes named above, the Wings as a group need to be at their best from the start. They need this.