DETROIT (AP) _ The Detroit Red Wings are happy because they opened the
playoffs with a win for the first time in three years.
The Nashville Predators are satisfied because they held their own in their
first-ever postseason contest. In fact, they held the lead for two periods.
The Red Wings were swept _ and stunned _ in the first round last season
against Anaheim. In 2002, they lost the first two games of the playoffs to
Vancouver before going on to win their 10th Stanley Cup.
``It's good to win the first game of the series obviously, and to win the
first game at home after we stumbled around here the last two years,'' Detroit
coach Dave Lewis said after the 3-1 win Wednesday night.
``You want to keep your home-ice advantage. I would consider it an ugly win,
but we found a way to win.''
It took a while after Nashville's Adam Hall scored 16 seconds into the game.
The one-goal lead held up until the Red Wings scored twice in the first five
minutes of the third period.
Barry Trotz, the only coach the Predators have had, was surprised how poised
his team was before and during the game.
``For our first playoff experience, I think we handled it pretty well,''
``Six years ago when we joined this league, we were just trying to survive
in this building. We don't have that mentality anymore, so actually, we were
pretty relaxed. We've got nothing to lose.''
Game 2 in the best-of-seven first-round series is Saturday afternoon.
``I think we'll be more confident,'' Trotz said Thursday.
Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom expects goaltender Manny Legace to have even more
confidence after making his first playoff start _ and playing in just his
second postseason game.
``I think it helps him a lot, knowing he's got that first win,'' Lidstrom
Legace downplayed his performance, and the victory.
``Just because we won one game doesn't mean we're going to win the Stanley
Cup,'' Legace said. ``It's a long road.''
Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who also made his first playoff start,
was disappointed that the Red Wings were able to rally to a victory.
``We had a chance, but we couldn't get that second goal,'' Vokoun said.
While Nashville is making its first playoff appearance, it is Detroit's 53rd
and 14th consecutive trip to the postseason.
Detroit has 11 players with at least 100 games of playoff experience.
Nashville's Jim McKenzie, who helped New Jersey win the Stanley Cup last
season, played in a team-high 51st postseason game.
``We don't have a lot of experience, but we probably doubled our team total
almost,'' Trotz said.