Red Wings-Predators Preview
GAME: Detroit Red Wings at Nashville Predators.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinal; Red Wings lead 3-2.
TIME: Saturday, 3 p.m. EDT.
After squandering a 2-0 lead in their quarterfinal series with the Nashville
Predators, the Detroit Red Wings could have been on their way to another early
exit from the postseason.
Their performance in Game 5, however, has them on the verge of advancing to
the next round.
Detroit looks to close out its first-round series when it visits Nashville -
a place it hasn't had much success this season.
The Red Wings won the first two games of the series at home before moving on
to Nashville, where they lost two of three meetings with the Predators in the
Nashville responded by outscoring Detroit 6-1 in winning both of its home
contests to even the series at 2-all heading into Game 5 at Joe Louis Arena on
The Red Wings were upset in the first round in 2001 by the Los Angeles Kings
and last year by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, so on Thursday, Detroit coach Dave
Lewis made some changes to his lineup to avoid moving within one loss of
Lewis replaced goaltender Manny Legace with Curtis Joseph, and juggled his
line combinations hoping to get better results on offense.
The moves worked.
Detroit scored three first-period goals - two off of Pavel Datsyuk's
dazzling passes - and Joseph made 19 saves as the Red Wings beat the Predators
4-1 to take a 3-2 series lead.
"We just made some simple adjustments, nothing scientific or anything,"
Lewis said. "It paid off a little bit."
Joseph, hobbled with an ankle injury for much of the season, made his first
playoff start since the Red Wings were swept by Anaheim in the first round last
"Our biggest challenge is ahead of us," Joseph said about winning in
When Dominik Hasek ended his one-year retirement last summer, the Red Wings
tried to trade Joseph. Later, Hasek had a season-ending groin injury and the
team decided to keep Joseph, who then went down with an ankle injury.
Legace, a career backup, became the unlikely No. 1 goaltender.
"It has been a different year, no question," Joseph said. "You always
want to play. It's a fun time of the year. I've worked hard on the ankle with
the trainers for this opportunity."
Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun saved 82 of 83 shots in the Predators' two
home wins, and called the Red Wings arrogant whiners and implied that Detroit
wasn't a better team than Nashville.
But on Thursday, Vokoun allowed Henrik Zetterberg, Brett Hull and Brendan
Shanahan to score on him in the first 13:18 of the game.
"If we try to play a skill game, they're going to beat us 10 out of 10
times," Vokoun said.
The home team has won each game in the best-of-seven series, and the
Predators hope to continue the trend on Saturday. If they win, Game 7 will be
Monday at Detroit.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Red Wings - 109 points, 1st seed. Predators - 91 points,
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Hull and Robert Lang, 2 goals; Datsyuk, 3
assists; Lang, 4 points; Shanahan, 14 PIM. Predators - Adam Hall and Vladimir
Orszagh, 2 goals; Jason York, 3 assists; four with 3 points; Kimmo Timonen, 10
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Red Wings - Power play: 7.7 percent (2 for 26).
Penalty killing: 95.8 percent (23 for 24). Predators - Power play: 4.2 percent
(1 for 24). Penalty killing: 92.3 percent (24 for 26).
GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Joseph (1-0, 0.77 GAA); Legace (2-2, 2.18).
Predators - Vokoun (2-3, 1 SO, 2.01); Chris Mason (no appearances).