Thursday, April 17, 2008

Worrying time for the Wings?

The ghosts of upsets past are starting to flutter around in the Western quarterfinal between Detroit and Nashville.

The Red Wings, first place overall and full offensive power and defensive skill, suddenly are tied in their best of seven series, in effect turning things into a best of three showdown for the right to move on.

The Predators, held of by their fingernails in the third period, refusing to give in to a relentless attack from Detroit, who provided more than enough pressure on Wednesday night to win four games, yet again they were denied the goals they needed to grab a road win and take hold of the series.

Nashville, played its typical hard hitting and close checking style of play, in the face of many a Red Wing allowing no time to pass, no time to shoot and no time to think. Once ahead 3-2 in the second period, the Predators braced for an all out assault from the fast paced Wings, who took rush after rush into the Nashville end of the rink, only to depart frustrated and goal less.

Detroit used both goaltenders on the night, Domenic Hasek, who faced fourteen shots and let in all three Nashville goals, gave way to Chris Osgood who found the Predator attack to be much of the same, however all of his thirteen shots were directed away from the scoreboard. The insertion of Osgood now adds an element of controversy to the Red Wing camp, as fans battle it out over whether Osgood should take over from the Dominator who didn't dominate.

Detroit’s playoff history has been a checkered one over the years, going from expected domination to surprise elimination from year to year. The team which controlled most of the season from their lofty perch of first place in the West, now once again will be hearing the whispers of lack of confidence, of questionable faith in key players and of intimidation at the hands of a more physical team.

Nashville has been able to counter every Detroit move quite well in the last two games. Seizing the momentum from the Wings and no doubt leaving both Red Wing players and fans feeling a little bit nervous for their chances in what is now a two out of three competition, a series dynamic that probably bodes well more for the team with the momentum, which right now is the Cats of Nashville.
They can add to the Red Wing angst Friday night when they return to Joe Louis Arena to try and grab game five.
The Tennessean-- It's anybody's series now
NHL. com-- Stats Pack

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