Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nashville Falls Prey to Red Wings in Shootout

Gonna sip on some wine while I write, so forgive any mistakes, they will be corrected upon the onset of sobriety.

Wow! For a mostly boring game, it sure ended in a thriller!! Detroit rode Jimmy Howard to his 32nd win of the season, making 33 saves and stopping 10 of 11 shootout attempts as the Wings defeated the Nashville Predators 1-0. Both goaltenders were sensational, to be honest, Pekka Rinne stood on his head all game long. We're lucky we didn't see both netminders carted off with broken necks!!

Let's take a look at my three keys from the preview:

1.) Get to Rinne Early - Ohhh wow, did I ever call this one. Detroit did not pressure Rinne enough to squeeze out a goal in the early stages of the game, and that led to Detroit going through their longest shootout of the year. That's the problem with a hot goaltender: if you don't rattle them early, 9 times of of 10 you're not going to rattle them late.

2.) Continue Series Trend - Detroit is now up 4-1 in the series, but clinching that is not important at this point. The two points Detroit got from maintaining their series dominance is what counted tonight. Even though Nashville got a point out of tonight's matchup, the Wings are now in sole possession of 6th, should Colorado lose against Phoenix tonight. Pretty good night's work, huh?

3.) Play hard, Don't Stop - Technically, I think the Wings did stick to this, though I think they had a bit of juice they didn't dig down and tap into. It was, however, enough to get Detroit the two points tonight, but I would certainly chalk this win up to a high percentage of luck. The most important thing is that the Red Wings didn't start playing really sloppy as they are wont to do when they get tired.

Now we wait through another long break before facing Edmonton (haven't we seen this before...?) on Tuesday. I'm hoping we'll see a much different outcome when the Oilers come to our house. Till then, have fun Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!

P.S. Oh, and since it's so awesome, enjoy this Eavesfail.

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!!!