Predators-Red Wings Preview
GAME: Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinals; Red Wings lead 1-0.
TIME: Saturday, 3 p.m. EDT.
Manny Legace overcame the butterflies. Now he has to shake off the cobwebs.
A day after being dazed in practice, Legace hopes to solidify his status as
the Detroit Red Wings' top goaltender for the playoffs and prevent the
Nashville Predators from evening this quarterfinal series at one game apiece.
With playoff veteran Curtis Joseph not fully recovered from an ankle injury,
Legace made his first NHL playoff start Wednesday and gave up Adam Hall's goal
just 16 seconds into Game 1.
"I had butterflies," the career backup acknowledged.
Legace was perfect following the shaky start, stopping the next 23 shots he
faced as Detroit won 3-1.
"I think it helps him a lot, knowing he's got that first win," Red Wings
veteran defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom said.
Legace is expected to start Game 2 despite leaving practice Friday after
being hit on his mask by a puck. Coach Dave Lewis said tests were negative.
"I asked him if he was all right and he seemed to be OK," teammate Kirk
Maltby said. "He left smiling."
While Legace had just 10 minutes of playoff experience before Wednesday's
victory, Joseph has played in 10 different postseasons. The ankle injury forced
Joseph to miss the final seven games of the regular season and 20 of the last
Though he feels healthy enough to play, Joseph's status for the series
remains uncertain, especially if Legace continues to play at a high level.
Legace's performance, along with goals by Tomas Holmstrom and Kris Draper
early in the third period, helped the Red Wings win their playoff opener for
the first time in three years. They were swept by Anaheim in last season's
first round, a year after losing their first two games 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," Lewis
The Predators were not discouraged by losing the first postseason game in
"For our first playoff experience, I think we handled it pretty well,"
coach Barry Trotz said.
"We were pretty relaxed. We've got nothing to lose."
The Predators likely need production from wingers Scott Walker and Steve
Sullivan to return home with the series tied. Walker and Sullivan, the only
Nashville forwards who got more than 20 minutes of ice time Wednesday, had no
points and a combined five shots on goal.
That duo combined for 140 points during the regular season.
Nashville will be without defenseman Marek Zidlicky after he suffered an
upper body injury when he was checked into the boards by Maltby early in Game
1. Zidlicky, third on the team during the regular season with 53 points, will
be replaced on the Predators' No. 1 power-play unit by rookie Dan Hamhuis or
"We think he is going to play in this series," general manager David Poile
said. "The opposition has been known to go after a guy any way to get an
advantage, and we don't want to put Marek at risk."
The teams have a quick turnaround for Game 3, which is Sunday afternoon in
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Predators - 91 points, 8th seed. Red Wings - 109 points,
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Hall, 1 goal; Scott Hartnell and Greg
Johnson, 1 assist; five tied with 2 PIM. Red Wings - Holmstrom, Draper and
Robert Lang, 1 goal; Maltby, 2 assists; Lang and Maltby, 2 points; Draper,
Steve Thomas and Brett Hull, 2 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Predators - Power play: 0 percent (0 for 3). Penalty
killing: 100 percent (5 for 5). Red Wings - Power play: 0 percent (0 for 5),
5th. Penalty killing: 100 percent (3 for 3).
GOALTENDERS: Predators - Tomas Vokoun (0-1, 3.05 GAA); Chris Mason (no
appearances). Red Wings - Legace (1-0, 1.00); Joseph (no appearances).
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Predators, 3-2-0-1. Detroit scored 13 goals in
winning the last three matchups. Vokoun was pulled in two of those three after
allowing just six goals on 79 shots in the first three games. Joseph went 2-3
with a 2.21 GAA in five starts, while Legace allowed one goal in winning his
lone outing against Nashville. The Wings' Brendan Shanahan had five goals and
two assists in the series, while no Predator had more than two goals.