NSH Leads Series 3 - 1

Red Wings need win to square series with Predators

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM


(Nashville leads best-of-seven series, 2-1)


Big Story: Detroit fans might still be sore about the incident between Shea Weber and Henrik Zetterberg after Game 1, but both teams have moved on from it and now it's about the remaining games that will decide this closely-contested series. Each of the first three games has finished with a 3-2 score and the goalie pulled in the last minute with the trailing team desperately trying for the tie. There’s no reason to expect any different in this game, which could be pivotal if Nashville comes out victorious and goes back home for Game 5 leading 3-1 with a chance to close it out.

The Red Wings are trying to shake off a disturbing recent trend of sluggish starts putting them behind early, which is what's led to both of their losses thus far. The Predators, who might make a couple of lineup adjustments prior to this game, just want to stick with the formula that's gotten them to this point -- building a lead and making it stand up with defense and Pekka Rinne's goaltending.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Detroit needs to score more goals, plain and simple. In the Red Wings' two losses, they've combined for 80 shots and gotten just four goals. They also saw a number of good scoring chances go for naught in Sunday's Game 3 thanks to poor aim, inability to handle set-up feeds or just bad luck. To further emphasize how close it's been for the Red Wings in the playoffs of late, Detroit's past 10 postseason losses were each time by just one goal -- which is both remarkable and frustrating.

"It means we've lost by one goal lots," coach Mike Babcock quipped on Monday. "We're not scoring enough. The whole key this time of year is real simple. If you're on the outside, you're not going to score. If you're on the inside, you're going to score. When you pass up a chance to shoot the puck, when are you getting your next chance to shoot the puck?"

Predators: Nashville got exactly the kind of start that coach Barry Trotz was hoping for in Game 3 and took a 2-0 lead early in the second period as the result of it. However, it was almost all Red Wings from about the 10:00 mark of the second through the rest of the game, as the Preds rode some outstanding work in net by Rinne and the defense in front of him to a big victory. In Game 4, the Preds are hoping to keep the same intensity and effectiveness to start -- especially in the faceoff circle -- but carry it through the entire 60 minutes this time.

"We know how big the game is and so do they," center Mike Fisher said. "They're going to come out real strong. This is going to be the toughest game yet. We know that and we've got to make sure we're ready and get on them early and play better than we did last game. We know we've got to be better."

Who's Hot: Weber continues to play an outstanding series at both ends of the rink with two goals in the first three games and a team-high 12 shots on goal. Rinne has stopped 76 of 80 Detroit shots in the Preds' two victories. … Pavel Datsyuk picked up his second and third points of the series in Game 3 by scoring his first goal and assisting on Zetterberg's second goal of the series.

Injury Report: Patrick Eaves (concussion/injured reserve), Joey MacDonald (back) and Darren Helm (wrist surgery) are all out for the Red Wings. … Hal Gill (lower body/foot) is day-to-day for the Predators.

Stat Pack: Including the last 17 games of the regular season, the Red Wings have scored just two goals or less in 15 of their past 20 games. … Nashville has 15 players who have tallied at least a point in the first three games, including seven with two points each.

Puck Drop: Detroit's Johan Franzen wasn't apologetic on Monday about jabbing his stick into the Nashville bench late in the second period to retaliate for David Legwand giving his jersey a tug while seated. Both were given matching minor penalties.

"He held me," Franzen said. "If he does it again, I'm going to do it again. He got called for it and I'm happy for that. We're a good team 4-on-4, so if he's going to do that again I'm happy to do it. Maybe I'll drag him out onto the ice and sit on him, I don't know … maybe do something else."

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