Red Wings-Predators Preview
GAME: Detroit Red Wings at Nashville Predators.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinal; Red Wings lead 2-1.
TIME: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.
The playoff-tested Detroit Red Wings know their superior talent won't be the
deciding factor in their first-round playoff series if they can't solve
Nashville Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun.
The Red Wings look to regain momentum in the series when they face red-hot
Vokoun and the Predators, who will be looking to pull even with Detroit when
the teams meet in Game 4.
The Wings went into Sunday's game looking to put a 3-0 stranglehold on the
series, but Vokoun made 22 of his 41 saves in the third period, and the
Predators celebrated the first home playoff game in the franchise's six-year
history with a 3-1 victory.
"Vokoun played unbelievable," said Detroit's Manny Legace, who had 18
saves. "He stood on his head and stole the game."
The Red Wings ran into Los Angeles' Felix Potvin in 2001 and Anaheim's
Jean-Sebastien Giguere in 2003, and suffered first-round upsets each time. They
know they can't put much more pressure on Vokoun than they did in the third
"We had some good chances, pucks rolling through the crease, and just
weren't able to capitalize," Detroit forward Darren McCarty said. "We knew it
was going to be a tough series and a tough place to win, so this puts an onus
Sunday's loss dropped the Wings to 7-7-2-1 all-time at Nashville's Gaylord
Vokoun played well in the first two games, allowing just five goals, but the
Predators scored only once in each game for him.
On Sunday, David Legwand scored a short-handed goal, Adam Hall had a goal
and an assist and Scott Hartnell padded the lead with a goal. Nashville gave
Vokoun a 2-0 lead after two periods.
"It's all about scoring," said Vokoun, who had 34 victories in 73
regular-season appearances. "If we had been able to put the puck in the net
(Saturday), we would've won. If you score, you give yourself a chance to win."
Detroit's Brett Hull scored the 101st playoff goal of his career 5:21 into
the final period, but Vokoun stopped him three other times.
Detroit will need Legace to regain his dominant form of the first two
contests if Vokoun continues to play as well as he did in Game 3. Legace
stopped 50 of 52 shots in winning the first two playoff games of his career.
The Wings' power play, fifth-best in the NHL during the regular season, has
managed one goal in 15 opportunities in this series. Detroit has outscored
Nashville 5-1 in the third period, but the Wings have only six goals in the
The Wings also know they can't allow themselves to be outworked by the
Predators, a young team with good speed and a relentless approach.
"This is what happens in the playoffs," Detroit forward Brendan Shanahan
said. "I don't think there's anyone here that predicted a sweep by either
team, so I mean someone's got to win one and lose one. The next game's a big
The scene shifts back to Joe Louis Arena for Game 5 on Thursday night, and
the Wings are hoping to be in position to close out the series. They don't have
much interest in returning to Nashville for a Game 6 against a young club that
is gaining confidence.
"Detroit is a veteran team, and they wanted to put a nail in the coffin
today, and we didn't let them," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "Hopefully,
we can continue to make this a series."
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Red Wings - 109 points, 1st seed. Predators - 91 points,
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Robert Lang, 2 goals and 3 points; Kirk
Maltby and Shanahan, 2 assists; Shanahan, 8 PIM. Predators - Hall, 2 goals and
3 points; Greg Johnson, 2 assists; Kimmo Timonen, 10 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Red Wings - Power play: 6.7 percent (1 for 15).
Penalty killing: 100 percent (12 for 12). Predators - Power play: 0.0 percent
(0 for 12). Penalty killing: 93.3 percent (14 for 15).
GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Legace (2-1, 1.69 GAA); Curtis Joseph (no
appearances). Predators - Vokoun (1-2, 2.02); Chris Mason (no appearances).