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Thorsten Kaye - Solid skills and tough play could knock down Columbus' pride

by Thorsten Kaye / NHL.com
Blog 2 - Tuesday, April 21

The boys have been bringing it. Dan Cleary has been playing tough. Filppula has been sticking his nose in there. And I've got to say, Pavel Datsyuk hits like a ton of bricks.

Honestly though, when it comes to Hossa, I'm always nervous he will get hit and not get back up. It all still means so much to him so he throws himself into the corners. But that's the difference between athletes and actors - if you're playing at the late-30s and still getting 6 minutes a game, you're a hero.

And the defense! The defenseman are so smart. They pinch, and boom! They're back in their position, they're like little magnets. Rafalski has been amazing... Can he shoot! Lidstrom, Kronwall, Stuart, all these guys, have got to be a frightening thing to face as a 21-year-old goalie.

The Blue Jackets are shooting from the outsides, no traffic in front, and with Osgood playing like he is, those aren't going to go in. I saw him after the game talking about anyway to improve, his humbleness certainly goes a long way out there. Even check out his helmet, it's just a plain helmet, the same one through three Stanley Cups, there's something classy about that.

Tonight's a big deal... the Wings have locked down Rick Nash, I love that. He's a big boy, but they keep taking his ice away. The biggest thing about the Red Wings is that they've really tightened up the neutral zone turnovers.

Nash is one of the best players in the game, and I don't think he'll be kept down the whole series because he's that good. Home ice is huge - Columbus is a great hockey town, it's their first Playoff game, and the Jackets are going to come out flying.

I don't know how the Wings will do playing from behind, they never seem to panic and they're getting scoring out from all different areas. Even so, you never want to think that your team is going to win, because that's when they don't.

So I'm going to say it's going to OT, and we'll see what happens after that.

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Author: Thorsten Kaye | Special to NHL.com

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