Nashville finds Strength in Detroit; Predators Win 3-2

Take that, Klein haters!

Game 3 of the Detroit/Nashville series started bright and early today with the puck dropping at 11AM; the first game scheduled for the day.

Nashville struggled Friday night on home ice, losing to Detroit 3-2 in regulation and tying the series 1-1. With two games down in Nashville, it was time for the Predators to head north to the Motor City to throw-down in the Joe. However, the Predators last visit in Detroit bounced in their favor, wiping out the Red Wings 4-1. Needless to say, the Predators aren’t afraid of Detroit and its fans, but would it be enough to erase the power play issues from Friday? Here are the highlights from today’s game in Detroit:

KEY POINTS:

  • Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen, Chet Pickard, Brian McGrattan, and Hal Gill rounded up the scratched list for Game 3, but one surprise was the scratch of Matt Halischuk. In replace of Hali, Jordin Tootoo hit the ice, along with rookie Ryan Ellis.
  • Good thing Shea Weber feeds positively off of negativity, for he sealed the first goal of the game at 2:48 on the power play for his 2nd goal of the playoffs. Every time Weber’s stick would touch the puck, a cascade of “boos” would float amongst the crowd, but Weber quickly silenced them. Andrei Kostitsyn (1st assist) and Alexander Radulov (2nd assist) picked up the assists on Weber’s silencer.
  • Kevin Klein would pick up a goal of his own at 3:50 in the 2nd Period, his first of the playoffs after scoring only four during the season. Martin Erat picked up his first assist of the playoffs, also the first point acquired by the top line of SK74-Marty-Fisher.
  • Pavel Datsyuk would finally get Detroit’s ball rolling at 15:03 with a wrap-around goal passed Pekka Rinne. This was Datsyuk’s first goal of the playoffs.
  • Johan Franzen stopped the hearts of millions watching when he was able to slip the puck by Pekka Rinne, essentially tying the game with under a second left in the 2nd Period. The goal was reviewed and it was clear the clock had run out just milliseconds before passing Pekka, rendering it no good. Whew!
  • Sergei Kostitsyn would sink the third goal for the Predators at 16:30 with a clean snap shot passed Jimmy Howard. Mike Fisher picked up his first assist and point of the playoffs along with Kevin Klein (1st assist) on SK74’s first goal of the playoffs.
  • Henrik Zetterberg would leave fans biting their nails at 19:06 when he was able to put the Red Wings within one of tying the game with Nashville on the power play, but the Predators defense would prove impenetrable, holding the Wings at bay until the final horn sounded to end the game.
  • Call this the Series of the Penalties! Twelve penalties in all, with six penalties for each team, giving both Detroit and Nashville equal power play opportunities. Unlike Friday, Nashville was finally able to snag a power play goal, but Detroit was able to snag one as well. Pointless penalty of the day came from Jordin Tootoo, who was called for roughing after pushing on Henrik Zetterberg. If you’re going to take a penalty, at least get a few swings in first! Here are the other Predators who took some time to reflect in the box:
  1.  David Legwand – 12:53 1st Period – Tripping
  2. Jordin Tootoo – 1:21 2nd Period – Roughing
  3. David Legwand (served by Patric Hornqvist) – 14:33 2nd Period – Interference
  4. Mike Fisher – 17:46 2nd Period – Roughing
  5. Sergei Kostitsyn – 19:49 2nd Period – Hi-Sticking
  6. David Legwand – 18:23 3rd Period – Holding
  • Pekka Rinne blew Detroit away in usual fashion, blocking 41 of 43 shots on goal. Nashville lacked on the shots on net, only attempting 22, but the accuracy was much better and Howard just wasn’t expecting to be taken out on his own ice.
  • Kevin Klein stepped up today, gaining an assist and a goal, only his 2nd playoff goal of his career. Both Kostitsyn brothers picked up points, with Andrei gaining an assist and Sergei collecting a goal. The top line all finally found a groove, with Fisher and Erat both gaining assists and, again, SK74 with a goal. 
The Predators came out swinging in the first period, but the second and third periods left us biting our nails down to the quick. However, a win’s a win and we will take it, especially when it is up in Motown. This win was actually Nashville’s first post-season win in Detroit in franchise history. As “Not Paul Gaustad” said on Twitter:

Follow @PaulsStick on Twitter

The Predators stay in Detroit until Tuesday, taking on the sea of Red at 6:30PM. Although the defense has been doing pretty well thus far, if Hal Gill can return by Tuesday, we believe there’s no stopping Nashville from taking this series.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Predators vs. Red Wings – Playoff Schedule

Feel free to use in honor of the NHL Playoffs!

The NHL Playoff schedule was released a 12PM today and, sorry, we are just now getting to putting it up on the site! Although you probably know by now, the Predators will be taking on the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs, a challenge Nashville has faced twice before and failed.

However, the Predators get to start the playoffs out at home and are a much better team than when they faced the Red Wings in the playoffs before in 2004 and 2008. We’ve already gotten the schedule up on our Schedule page (just scroll to the bottom), but we’ve added it here for easy finding.

2012 PLAYOFF SCHEDULE: ROUND 1
Wednesday, April 11th – Detroit @ Predators -7PM
Friday, April 13th – Detroit @ Predators – 6:30PM
Sunday, April 15th – Predators @ Detroit – 11AM
Tuesday, April 17th – Predators @ Detroit – 6:30PM
Friday, April 20th – Detroit @ Predators – 7PM
GAME 6: TBA
GAME 7: TBA

The Predators finished 4th overall in the Western Conference, the first time in franchise history that they topped the Red Wings in points. With that confidence boost, the Predators have every chance to knock the Red Wings from the Cup race.

Interested in the other match ups? Here’s what’s going on in the rest of the league regarding the playoffs:

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

  • L.A. KINGS vs. VANCOUVER CANUCKS @ VANCOUVER
  • SAN JOSE SHARKS vs. ST. LOUIS BLUES @ ST. LOUIS
  • CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS vs. PHOENIX COYOTES @ PHOENIX
  • NASHVILLE PREDATORS vs. DETROIT RED WINGS @ NASHVILLE

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

  • NEW YORK RANGERS vs. OTTAWA SENATORS @ NEW YORK
  • BOSTON BRUINS vs. WASHINGTON CAPITALS @ BOSTON
  • PHILADELPHIA FLYERS vs. PITTSBURGH PENGUINS @ PITTSBURGH
  • NEW JERSEY DEVILS vs. FLORIDA PANTHERS @ FLORIDA

 

So there you have it. One great advantage is that no game starts after 8PM CST, which will be nice for all of us on Central Standard Time. The games begin on Wednesday, April 11th and we will update the winners of each round as the series plays out!

Until then,
GO PREDS.

Home Ice Advantage & 4th Position Rewarded to Nashville

Celebrate good times, COME ON!

For once, we thank you, Chicago Blackhawks. Thanks to Chicago’s 3-2 win over Detroit just a few moments ago, the Predators have now clinched the 4th position in the playoffs AND (AND!!) home ice advantage! Phew!

Not that the Predators couldn’t have made it far starting out away, but home ice can make or break a team’s outlook on a playoff series. So yes, home ice is very nice… and for the fans, of course! Now who will the Predators take on first? Well, it’s going to be the Detroit Red Wings. No need to panic, the Predators could knock out any team in the Western Conference if they can focus and keep their minds on the game. This is actually the first time in franchise history the Predators have come out with more points at the end of the season than the Detroit Red Wings. The potiential that the Predators have is outstanding… now if only they can grasp their talent and find confidence in it.

The NHL Playoff Schedule will be released tomorrow at 12PM CT and when it becomes available, you will see it here.Again, rarely will we EVER thank another Central Division team for winning, but Chicago did Nashville a huge favor by knocking off Detroit.So what does that mean for the fans? Please, please, PLEASE go out and buy your playoff tickets! #KeeptheRedOut is trending throughout the Twitter world, as we do not want the Red Wings fans taking over the Bridgestone, similar to what happened when Chicago came to town a few Saturdays ago…

Until then,
GO PREDS

(Photo credit: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)