Saturday, March 27, 2010

Preview: Wings @ Predators

"Guys have been playing well. We've had it going pretty good since the Olympic break." - Goaltender Jimmy Howard

Detroit (38-23-13) @ Nashville (43-27-5)

What a roll for the Wings! Funny to think coming back from the Olympics there were a lot of Wings fans who were already thinking about next season. But with a win tonight against the Nashville Predators, the Wings could jump from a tie for 7th to a tie for 5th in the Western Conference. Detroit is leading the season series 3 games to 1 currently, with Nashville winning the earliest matchup.

Let's take a look at my three keys to a lock for 5th, shall we?

1.) Get to Rinne Early - Pekka Rinne has been a godsend for the Preds, as Dan Ellis has been sub-par compared to his last season performance. I have no doubts Nashville will look to him tonight against a very hot Red Wings offense. Detroit needs to generate shot after shot and crack him a quickly as possible. He may be playing well, but Rinne is no seasoned vet, get under his skin, and he could buckle.

2.) Continue Series Trend - This one should be obvious, but the Wings should really try to remember that they're leading the series against Nashville, considering they were playing hurt in every game previous to tonight. If the Wings were able to fend off the Preds with half of Grand Rapids in the lineup, what do you suppose a 99% healthy Wings squad could do to these guys? I'm just sayin'...

3.) Play Hard, Don't Stop - A very simple work ethic: Nashville is not going to want to give Detroit these two points, because that puts the Preds one step closer to playing one of the top 3 teams in the West in the 1st round of the playoffs. Nashville will give it everything tonight to prevent that, and we have to give even more to make it happen. Getting to the playoffs is an almost guaranteed lock at this point. Now, it's about positioning. If Detroit can rise up the standings and get to 5th (maybe even 4th, should the 'Yotes fall apart dramatically.), we then have the luxury of watching Detroit potentially gain home ice advantage later on in the tournament. That, my friends, would be huge.

So that's it: basically if the boys buckle down and play a good game of hockey, I think this one's in the bag. I can already smell 5th place, and it's making me anxious for the playoffs. Game starts a little later tonight, so I'll only miss a little bit, maybe the first 20, but I'll be back on Twitter tonight once I'm home from work. Till then, as always, have fun following the game Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!