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PREDATORS at RED WINGS
(Series tied 1-1)
TV: NBC (HD), CBC, RDS (HD)
Big Story: After heading into this series in the strange position as the underdog without home-ice advantage, the Wings have at least tentatively gained control of the home-ice factor. They won Game 2 on Friday night in Nashville 3-2 and now get ready to see if their remarkable success at Joe Louis Arena this season holds up. The next two games will be in the Motor City, where the Predators won the last of three games this season by a 4-1 margin. The aftermath of physical play in the first two games, including a controversial head-ramming incident by Shea Weber on Henrik Zetterberg after Game 1, was still a topic of conversation on Saturday. However, both teams said it's time to concentrate on the remaining games instead.
Predators : Looking back on Game 2 only reinforced the Preds' feeling that they actually played better in that game despite losing than they did while winning Game 1. Nashville held Detroit to just 17 shots and did a good job defending in general. The game-winning goal was a shot by Brad Stuart that deflected off Johan Franzen's left knee and into the net, while the Preds couldn't buy a fortunate bounce - they hit the crossbar at least once and just missed several other opportunities, especially on the power play. The Preds finished the regular season with the League's top man-advantage unit but are 0-for-12 so far. Is it a reason for concern?
"No, not at all," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said Saturday in Detroit. "[Friday] we looked at the power play, we reviewed it and we could've had three or four goals on it. We had empty nets and we put it in their skates and all that. We've just got to finish. [Friday night] if we finish, in our first two power plays we could've scored on both of them."
Red Wings: It didn't take long for the rough stuff to crop up in Game 2 following the hit by Nashville's Shea Weber on Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg at the end of Game 1. Franzen caught an elbow up high from Mike Fisher that left him with a bloody nose and black eye early on, and then Todd Bertuzzi scrapped with Weber to stick up for Zetterberg. After that, Detroit scored goals in the first period by Ian White and rookie Cory Emmerton before Franzen scored the eventual game-winner midway through the second period -- just 56 seconds after Andrei Kostitsyn got the Preds on the board. White got hit with a one-time slapper during a penalty kill late in the second and missed Saturday's practice, but says he'll play in Game 3. Meanwhile, Detroit hasn't allowed a power-play goal in nine straight games including the end of the regular season - killing off all 12 Nashville power plays so far.
"Obviously it's been a positive in two games," Wings coach Mike Babcock said of his team's flawless penalty-killing. "The negative side of it is we're wearing people out penalty-killing and we've taken way too many penalties. We have to be more disciplined."
One consideration for both teams is the quality of the ice. Joe Louis Arena hosted a sold-out concert by Nickelback on Saturday night, which might lead to less-than-ideal ice conditions for Sunday's noon ET start.
Who's Hot: Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom has recorded points in the first two games (one goal and one assist) and has tallied points in four straight contests including the last two games of the regular season. … Paul Gaustad scored a goal in Game 1 and added a primary assist in Game 2 while winning 16 of 28 faceoffs (57 percent) for Nashville.
Injury Report: Patrick Eaves (concussion/injured reserve), Joey MacDonald (back) and Darren Helm (wrist surgery) are all out for the Red Wings. White said he will play through a sore foot; Hal Gill (lower body/foot) is questionable for the Predators.
Stat Pack: Detroit has killed off the last 37 power plays it has faced, including 25 straight during the last seven games of the regular season. … Nashville's top defense duo and power-play points, Weber and Ryan Suter, haven't recorded a power-play point despite combining for 28:22 of ice time with the extra man in the first two games.
Puck Drop: No Predator looks forward to facing the Wings more than center David Legwand, the first draft pick in Nashville history and a Detroit native who grew up watching the Wings on TV -- and occasionally at Joe Louis Arena.
"They had some pretty good teams when I was growing up," Legwand told Nashville's website. "They have been the class of the league for a long time. I think every organization should try to emulate them and do the things they do as an organization. That is what we have done here.
"We will be up for a test when we go in there,"