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Detroit vs. Nashville: Series storylines

by Staff Writer / Detroit Red Wings

Oh Eight:  The eighth seed as beaten the top seeded team seven times since 1994.  The last No. 8 seed to defeat a No. 1 was in 2006 when the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Red Wings in six games. Other No. 8 upsets include, Montreal over Boston (2002), San Jose over St. Louis (2000), Pittsburgh over New Jersey (1999), Ottawa over New Jersey (1998), New York Rangers over Quebec (1995), and San Jose over Detroit (1994).

Who's left from 2004?:  Only seven players remain from the Predators' team that was defeated by the Red Wings in six games in their inaugural playoff appearance: goalie Chris Mason, defensemen Marek Zidlicky and Dan Hamhuis, and forwards Martin Erat, David Legwand, Vernon Fiddler and Jordin Tootoo.  Hamhuis, Fiddler and Tootoo were rookies on that team. (Steve Sullivan also played on the '94 team but has missed all of 2007-08 with injury.)
The Red Wings have 10 players left from that 2004 team that played Nashville: goalie Dominik Hasek, defensemen Nicklas Lidstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Chris Chelios, and forwards Pavel Datysuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom, Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty.

Goaltending Depth: Predators coach Barry Trotz and Red Wings coach Mike Babcock will have the rare benefit of depth in goal in their opening round matchup. Of the 271 playoff series over the past 20 years, only five have featured matchups in which each team had two goaltenders who played in at least 45 percent of the team's regular-season games. This will be the sixth, as Trotz can use Chris Mason or Dan Ellis, and Babcock can go with his Jennings Trophy-winning duo of Chris Osgood or Dominik Hasek.
The only other such series? in 2006-07, the Predators (Tomas Vokoun/Chris Mason) played the San Jose (Evgeni Nabokov/Vesa Toskala); in 1995-96, Pittsburgh (Tom Barrasso/Ken Wregget) played the NY Rangers (Glenn Healy/Mike Richter); in 1995-96 Colorado (Stephane Fiset/Patrick Roy) played Vancouver (Corey Hirsch/Kirk McLean); in 1988-89 Boston (Reggie Lemelin/Andy Moog) faced Buffalo (Jacques Cloutier/Daren Puppa) and, also in 1988-89, Boston (Lemelin/Moog) faced Montreal (Brian Hayward/Patrick Roy).

Quite a debut: The Predators franchise playoff debut came against Detroit in 2004. In Game 1 (Apr. 7), the Predators' Adam Hall scored 16-seconds into the game. The goal was the quickest ever surrendered by the Red Wings in their distinguished playoff history.

Familiar foe: Nashville defenseman Greg de Vries will face Detroit in the playoffs for the fourth time in his career. While with Colorado (1998-2003), de Vries beat Detroit twice in the conference semifinals (1999, 2000) and lost once in the conference final (2002).

Familiar Foe, Part 2: The Predators and Red Wings played each other four times in 22 days in the month of March. While the Red Wings won three of four, three of the games were decided by one goal. Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg said, after their last meeting of the season (a 1-0 overtime victory on March 30): "If it ends up being them in the first round, it's going to be like (today). It's going to be close games, and a lot of games are going to go to overtime because it's that close between the two teams."

Detroit-Nashville connection: Predators center David Legwand, a Detroit-native, played his minor hockey for Detroit Compuware before playing for the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL.

Veteran vs. Youth: The average age of the Red Wings' defense is 31.6, compared to the Predators' defense average age of 26.4.

NHL Playoff Appearance: 56th (17th consecutive)
Stanley Cups: 10 (last SC: 2002)
Last Playoff Series Win: 2007 (conference semifinal vs. San Jose)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 58-45
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 269-248-1


Nov. 27, 2007 -- Nicklas Lidstrom became the 72nd player in NHL history to appear in his 1,200th NHL game.

Jan. 8/08 -- Against Colorado, defenseman Chris Chelios became the second-oldest player in NHL history, second only to Wings legend Gordie Howe.


Young at Heart: With his next playoff game appearance, Chris Chelios will match the record for most Stanley Cup playoff games, 247, set by goalie Patrick Roy. Chelios also will extend his own Stanley Cup record by appearing in his 23rd career playoff season.

Young At Heart II: Chelios, who turned 46 on Jan. 25, passed the late Moe Roberts (45 years, 347 days) to become the oldest U.S.-born player in NHL history and the second-oldest NHL player ever, surpassed only by Gordie Howe (52 years, 6 days). Roberts, a goaltender, made last NHL appearance was for Chicago -- against the Red Wings -- Nov. 25, 1951; by then he was assistant trainer for the Blackhawks but was pressed back into service (17 seasons after his previous NHL appearance) when Chicago's starting goaltender, Harry Lumley, was injured.

Young At Heart III: Chris Chelios is older than seven current coaches, including Mike Babcock. He also predates Nashville's Barry Trotz, New Jersey's Brent Sutter, Pittsburgh's Michel Therrien, Carolina's Peter Laviolette, Philadelphia's John Stevens and Toronto's Paul Maurice . . . Chelios also played his first game March 8, 1984, or 12 days before teammate Valtteri Filppula was born.

Truly Presidential: Including this season, the Red Wings have won the Presidents’ Trophy six times since it was presented by the Board of Governors to the NHL in 1985-86 to honor the team that finished the regular-season with the league’s best record. No other team has won it more than twice.

In the Long Run: This is Detroit's 17th consecutive season in the playoffs – the longest such streak in pro sports. The New York Yankees are second with 13 in a row. This also is the Red Wings' eighth consecutive season of 100 points-or-more, matching the record the Montreal Canadiens set from 1974-75 to 1981-82.

Offensive Defense: Detroit is the only team in the NHL with three defensemen scoring 30-or-more points -- Nicklas Lidstrom (10-60--70), Brian Rafalski (13-42--55) and Niklas Kronwall (7-28--35). Lidstrom and Rafalski are the top-scoring defense pair in the NHL.

Near-Perfect 10: Over the past 10 seasons, the Red Wings have won a combined 556 regular-season (493) and playoff (63) games, the top combined total in the NHL.

No Repeat After Me: The Red Wings were the last team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, 1997-98.

Last team to win the Presidents’ Trophy & Stanley Cup in same year: The Red Wings, in 2002. The Wings are only one of six teams to reach this feat.

Who? Not Howe?: Johan Franzen scored 14 goals in March -- six of them game winners, surpassing the franchise record Gordie Howe had shared with Henrik Zetterberg. Howe  scored five game-winning goals in February 1952 and again in January 1956. Zetterberg matched Howe's mark in January 2007.

Motor (City) Coach: This season, Mike Babcock became the first coach in league history to win 50-or-more games in his first three seasons with an NHL team. He also garnered the Presidents' Trophy in his first season in Hockeytown, 2005-06.

Flipping over Lidstrom: Nicklas Lidstrom has won the Norris Trophy five times in the past six seasons. Only Bobby Orr (8) and Doug Harvey (7) have won the Norris more times.

Patience, patience: Three of the most important Red Wings were extremely late draft picks -- left wing Tomas Holmstrom was No. 257 in 1994, center Pavel Datsyuk was No. 171 in 1998 ,and left wing Henrik Zetterberg was No. 210 in 1999.


NHL Playoff Appearance: 4th (4th consecutive)
All-Time Playoff Series Record: 0-3
All-Time Playoff Game Record: 4-12


Oct. 25/07 -- The Predators snapped an early-season six-game losing streak with a 3-0 win against Atlanta. Off-season free agent signing goalie Dan Ellis posted a 20-save shutout in his first start as a Predator and just his second NHL start.

Dec. 1/07 -- The Predators staged a three-goal, third-period comeback and defeated the Montreal Canadiens, 5-4, at Bell Centre. Center Radek Bonk, who spent the past two seasons with Montreal, scored the game-tying goal with 46.8 seconds remaining in regulation and was successful on his shootout attempt.

Feb. 26/08 -- Nashville acquired left wing Jan Hlavac from Tampa Bay for a seventh-round draft pick in 2008 at the trade deadline.

Apr. 1/08 -- Trailing eighth-place Vancouver by one point in the Western Conference playoff race with just three games remaining, the Predators rallied from a 3-0 first-period deficit to defeat St. Louis, 4-3, in overtime. Nashville tallied a pair of third-period goals to tie the score and center Rich Peverley notched the game-winner in overtime.


Finishing kick: The Predators went 5-0-1 in the six-game stretch from March 22 to April 3, culminating in a 3-2 victory over St. Louis that clinched a playoff spot.

Franchise record shutout streak: Dan Ellis set a franchise-record shutout streak by not allowing a goal in 233:38 -- from the first period vs. Chicago on March 22 to 3:21 of overtime on March 30 at Detroit. It marked the fifth-longest shutout streak in the NHL since 1944-45. Ellis turned aside 147 consecutive shots during the streak, and his pair of shutouts gave him six this season, setting a franchise record.

Here's to Trotz: Predators coach Barry Trotz completed his ninth season behind the Nashville bench, the longest tenure by the original coach of an expansion team. Trotz passed Terry Crisp (391 games with Tampa Bay from October, 1992 to October, 1997) in the 2002-03 season. Trotz owns the second-longest current NHL coaching tenure (738 games), trailing Buffalo’s Lindy Ruff (820). He has worked alongside Predators general manager David Poile, previously with the Washington Capitals organization, since 1987-88 (20 seasons).

Making Winning A Habit: The Predators have recorded 90 points-or-more in four consecutive seasons and are particularly tough at home, posting an 83-30-10 record at Sommet Center over the past three seasons.

Captain Arnott leads the way: Captain Jason Arnott ranked second on the club in goal-scoring with 28, reaching the 20-goal plateau for the ninth consecutive season and the 11th time in his 14-year NHL career. Arnott has appeared in 96 Stanley Cup playoff games and has been to the Stanley Cup final twice, capturing the Cup with New Jersey in 2000. During the 2000 playoffs, he tied for third in the NHL in points (8-12--20) and led the Devils with seven points (4-3--7) vs. Dallas in the Stanley Cup final. He tallied the Stanley Cup-winning goal in double overtime of Game 6 at Dallas.

Looking back at the 2007 playoffs: Right wing Alexander Radulov scored twice in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series against San Jose, becoming the first NHL player to score two goals in his first playoff game since Anaheim's Paul Kariya did it on April 16, 1997 against Phoenix. He also was the first rookie to accomplish the feat since Washington defenseman Sergei Gonchar against Pittsburgh on May 6, 1995 ... Right wing J.P. Dumont scored two goals in both Games 1 and 2 against San Jose, becoming the first player since Pittsburgh center Petr Nedved in 1996 to score four-or-more goals in his first two games with a new team.

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