Sunday, April 13, 2008

A few bounces along the way, but things seem to be going the Red Wing way

Joe Louis Arena is traditionally a hard place to win a game as a visitor and nobody has to tell the Nashville Predators about it.

The Preds battled hard in game number two of their best of seven series with Detroit on Saturday afternoon, but an unlucky bounce off a Predator skate, a net off its moorings and a well placed time out seemed to undo all of their hard work on Saturday.

The Wings weathered a sloppy patch of hockey in the first period, giving too many turnovers and opportunities to a Nashville team desperate to head home tied in their quarterfinal series. However, as the script seems to write that is when Domenic Hasek rises to the occasion and he did that and more in period number one, shutting down the Predator attack and keeping his team on its path for win number two.

The second period proved to be more of a challenge as the Predators more than battled back from a two goal deficit. They quickly pulled even midway in period two, with two goals and threatening to increase the margin with shots that bounced off the posts twice before head coach Mike Babcock decided to calm down his crew.

It was a break that proved to be instrumental in helping the Wings regain their balance and reverse the momentum that Nashville had built up, threatening to take over the game and perhaps sewing a few seeds of doubt in the minds of the overall league champions.

Game two provided a few sub stories to the game as well; there was the historic nature of Chris Chelios’ appearance, as the Red Wing blue liner notched playoff game number 248 on his list of achievements a new NHL record wrestled from Patrick Roy on Saturday afternoon.

Then there is the comeback of Darren McCarty, who has battled any number of demons and personal situations on his way to his return to a Red Wing uniform at the age of 36, Saturday the Red Wings loyalty, was rewarded as McCarty scored the game opener on Saturday early on in the first period. McCarty began his return to the NHL with stints in Flint and Grand Rapids before he lined up again with the Red Wings in late February. His playoff experience and the ease which he’s fitting back in with the Wings provide a sense of continuity for the team, which needed that calm to weather the second period outbreak by the Preds.

Barry Trotz would be pulling his hear out if he was so endowed, from the hit posts, to the near misses in the Red Wing zone the game seemed destined to be a Predator victory, yet penalties and controversial calls once again would work against his team, leaving them in a considerable hole heading back to Nashville for game three.

There’s not much more you can do when you outwork a team, take the play to them and still find that the puck is bouncing the wrong way for you, at that point the coaching part of the game isn’t required, instead perhaps another follicle challenged expert can offer a hand, surely Dr. Phil is a Nashville fan…

Royal Oak Daily Tribune-- Wings notch another
Nashville Tennesean-- Preds fall halfway to exit
Nashville Tennesean-- Questionable goal needed review
. Stat Pack

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