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Detroit Red Wings Playoff Game Day Blog

POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 11:40 AM


“You killed him!”
“Well duh, what part of sudden death didn’t you understand?”


There are two ping-pong tables that live outside the Red Wings locker room at Joe Louis Arena. They have become an after-practice favorite for players looking to unwind in a lighthearted, but competitive way.

There was a rumor floating around yesterday that a few Nashville Predators players wanted to play on the tables and Todd Bertuzzi offered up a little bit of series gamesmanship by telling them to get their own table.

Mike Babcock was questioned about it during his morning press conference, cracking an ear-to-ear grin before asking if it really happened.

“No,” said a voice in the room.

Babcock also said that this time of year, stories like that tend to get blown out of proportion.


Here are a few more links from across the Winged Wide Web to get you ready for Game 4.

The Detroit Free Press has a story on Valtteri Filppula trying to break a 13 game goalless streak.
View entire article. 

The New York Times notes that Shea Weber isn’t the most popular person in Detroit right now.
View entire article. 

MLive has more on 11 ‘Black Aces’ called up for the playoff run.
View entire article. 

Darren Helm held a Monday afternoon press conference with the media, it is the first time he has spoken on the record since suffering a season-ending arm injury during Game 1.
View entire article. 

MLive also covers the passing of former Flint Generals owner and Perani’s Hockey World founder Bob Perani, with quotes from Kris Draper.
View entire article. 

Even after a Game 3 victory, the Predators may shake up their lines a bit according to the Tennessean.
View entire article. 

Winging it in Motown previews tonight’s ‘must win’ Game 4.
View entire article. 

The Production Line offers props to the Joe Louis Arena pregame show, which stole the spotlight during Game 3.
View entire article. 

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 9:00 AM

Ian White (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Ian White

DRW: We saw you lining up with Nick Lidstrom a little bit during Game 3, is this designed to create more scoring opportunities?
IW: “Yeah, I think so. We skated together during (Monday’s) practice as well. Hopefully we’ll be able to create more offense like we did earlier in the year.”

DRW: What have you learned, now as a veteran, about playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs?
IW: “I think I feel a lot more comfortable this year, as opposed to my first time around last year. I have a little bit more patience and I’m making smarter decisions because I have that extra experience under my belt.”

DRW: Give us an example of how the style of play is different in the playoffs than it is during the regular season?
IW: “Sometimes during the regular season, you may skate past a situation, as opposed to finishing your check. In the playoffs, it is all about doing the little things over and over again and not taking any shortcuts. You have to do it right the first time, or else that other team might capitalize.”

DRW: Does it help that you have a game every other day in the playoffs, as opposed to back-to-back games, or a few days off between games during the regular season?
IW: “I think you stay sharp by playing so often. Sometimes if you have four or five days off during the season, your skills and instinct may get a bit rusty. It’s nice, especially after losing a game, to come back to the rink and go back to work the next day.”

DRW: What was your first playoff game at the Joe as a member of the Winged Wheel like?
IW: It was awesome. The fans were great right from the start. The atmosphere was very loud in here and Detroit, hands down, has the best hockey fans in the business. You can definitely hear the fans, they become an extra man out there.

DRW: What is the level of confidence in the locker room right now, down 2-1 in the series?
IW: “Guys here have been through this so many times. We know it is a must win game for us. When your backs are against the wall, this group knows they can come through.”


Drew Miller

DRW: Do you feel like players need a few games to get into a playoff series? Not from getting ready to play, but in building up an animosity, or understanding how it may be called?
DM: “We were all prepared for this series beforehand, I think, with the calls, those are just adjustments you have to make as players. You don’t want to play your way into a series. You want to be ready to go from the first game and make adjustments as it goes on.”

DRW: How important is the first goal tonight?
DM: “I think the first goal is always a big deal. You want to get that momentum and hold it for as long as you can throughout the game. The first goal is a big momentum swing, so we have to try and get that. If we don’t, we’ve got to push hard to get it back.”

DRW: Do you have any Stanley Cup memories growing up in such a big hockey family?
DM: “I think it was just watching playoff hockey with my dad. I remember him telling me that the game really changes from the regular season to the playoffs. He would tell me that these guys really amp up their games to try and win the Stanley Cup.”

DRW: Do you pay much attention to what is going on in the other series across the league?
DM: “I watch the highlights in the morning and that’s about it. I watch and see who scored and what the series is at, but I don’t really watch that much, unless my brother Ryan is involved.”

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.17.2012 / 12:00 AM
Pekka Rinne can be beaten, as Pavel Datsyuk showed during Sunday's Game 3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Like any good movie, it takes time to build context into the story, to set everything up for its thrilling, climactic conclusion.

The same thing exists for a best-of-seven playoff series.

Rarely, do you see a scene like you did in Philadelphia on Sunday. Then again, the Flyers and Penguins met in the final game of the regular season. The natural rivalry between the Keystone State rivals has existed for generations. And when one team is down 2-0 in the series headed to hostile territory, desperation can and will creep in.

That’s the exception. The rule is what we’ve seen between the Red Wings and Predators, a series that all of the pundits agreed that six games was the bare minimum, with the difference between victory and defeat being a bounce here and a bounce there. Not too many of these so-called experts thought home ice would matter, especially with Detroit’s veteran laden club, nor has it with two of the first three games being won by the road team.

“You have two evenly matched teams,” Jimmy Howard said following Monday’s practice. “You knew it was going to be tight and that whatever team stuck to their systems the best would be in a good position.”

Now it gets interesting.

Sure, the whole Henrik Zetterberg-Shea Weber thing was an intriguing appetizer, but it has little to do with the final plot. Instead, it is the fact that all three games have been decided by one goal, even with the Red Wings controlling much of the play throughout the series. That couldn’t have been more apparent on Sunday, when Detroit outshot Nashville 43-22, leaving the Predators on their heels for much of the last 25 minutes of play.

And that leads us to this story’s antagonist (at least to us) in Pekka Rinne, the last line of defense and keeper of the gate for Nashville. Rinne has stymied Detroit, not just in the last three games, but also throughout much of his career. If this were chess, the Red Wings would have a queen, two rooks, a bishop and a knight, but unable to make the right moves to create checkmate.

He is the challenge, the mountain, the primary obstacle between our group of heroes and their ultimate goal. Now, can they find a hole in his shield?

“Our job is to create chances and be a little bit annoying to play against,” Cory Emmerton said on Sunday. “I thought we did a pretty good job of that in Game 3, but we just have to build off of it.”

How do you do that?

“I think the biggest thing is to get the first goal,” said Kyle Quincey. “We got the first goal in Game 2 and we were okay there, so I think that’s a huge thing for us.”

Getting the first goal won’t just get the Wings on the board, but awaken the building, establish momentum and eventually, if all goes well, lead to a series-tying victory.

The next chapter is waiting to be written. Which star will emerge as a legend tonight?

QUICK STATS:

- Nashville took a 2-1 lead on Sunday, but did you know that it was their first playoff victory at Joe Louis Arena? The Predators had been 0-6 in two previous playoff appearances.

- The Red Wings fired 19 shots on goal in the third period, surpassing their shot total in all of Game 2 (17). Henrik Zetterberg led Detroit with nine shots on net.

- The Red Wings last 10 playoff losses have all been by one goal. This streak dates back to a 5-2 loss on April 25, 2010 to the Phoenix Coyotes.

- Tonight marks the 71th consecutive sellout at Joe Louis Arena, a streak dating back to December 19, 2010. The Red Wings were 31-7-3 on home ice this season. Nashville was 22-16-3 on the road.


LINE PLAY:

The Red Wings shook things up in practice on Monday, pairing Nick Lidstrom with Ian White, while Jonathan Ericsson was skating alongside Kyle Quincey. This could be seen as an offensive move, seeing that Ian White was the team’s plus-minus leader during the first few months of the season while paired with the captain.

Gustav Nyquist also continued to show his flexibility, seeing time with Justin Abdelkader and Todd Bertuzzi, in addition to with Tomas Holmstrom and Cory Emmerton on the fourth line. 

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

10:30 AM – The Red Wings skate at Joe Louis Arena
11:30 AM – The Predators skate at Joe Louis Arena
6:00 PM – Doors Open
7:30 PM – JLA Pregame Show
Immediately Following – Game 4 on FOX Sports Detroit, NBC Sports Network, CBC, RDS2 and 97.1 The Ticket.

KEY INJURIES
Hal Gill took part in Nashvile’s Monday practice at Joe Louis Arena and is still considered day-to-day with a lower body injury. He is expected to be a game-time decision after missing the first three games of the series.

Darren Helm will miss the remainder of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs after surgery to repair lacerated tendons in his right forearm.

GET HERE EARLY
Following the success of last year’s decorated stairs celebrating 20 consecutive years of playoff appearances, Joe Louis Arena will once again be decked out for the big occasion. Vinyl photographs of the Wings’ Stanley Cup championship banners and former Stanley Cup celebrations will don the East Gate, West Gate and box office doors.

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY
Thanks to AT&T for providing today’s car flag giveaway. All fans attending Game 4 can find these on their seats upon entering the building. 

FOLLOW US
Twitter handles for some pretty important people.
@DetroitRedWings – The team’s official account
@CEmmer48Cory Emmerton
@GNyquistGustav Nyquist
@RSheahan4Riley Sheahan

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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 4:40 PM


THE AMWAY QUALITY PLAY OF THE GAME


Pavel Datsyuk could be charged with a crime for this. That’s the work of a certified puck thief behind the net, pure and simple.

With the Red Wings down 2-0 and playing four-on-four hockey, Datsyuk picked Roman Josi’s pocket behind the net, then poked one past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne to make it a one-goal game. Detroit used the momentum to create numerous scoring chances over the final 4:57 of the second period, including a goal by Johan Franzen that didn’t count because it crossed the goal line milliseconds after the period had ended.

“We were right back in it after that,” Cory Emmerton said of the goal. “Especially with the atmosphere in the building, one goal was going to be a huge boost for us. When you see a great player make a great play like that, it’s going to pump you up even more.”




TONIGHT’S THREE STARS, POWERED BY RAM
1) Shea Weber – His first period goal was the first for the Predators on the power play in this series, beating goaltender Jimmy Howard just 2:48 into the game. 
2) Pekka Rinne – Stopped 41 of 43 shots en route to his second win of the series. 
3) Pavel Datsyuk – His highlight-reel goal in the second period was a turning point for the Red Wings, who were able to tilt the ice thereafter. 

TWEET OF THE NIGHT: @SuperGirl30: The JLA environment is awesome, even after NSH scores. They start right up with a ‘Let’s Go Red Wings’ chant! #DetroitPride #DRWChat

THEY SAID IT:


“We have to find a way to stay out of the box. It kind of kills your rhythm, trying to roll four lines and with the rotation on the back end as well. We have to do a better job with that. – Nick Lidstrom

"Let's be honest, if you look at the game, the puck didn't go in for us. It did for them and we've got to change that next game."
– Mike Babcock

“It was close there at the end of the second period. I felt for sure we’d get one pretty early in the third. They have a great goalie and a great defensive team. They were going to limit the number of second chances we had.”
Cory Emmerton

“I think the biggest thing for us in the next game is to get the first goal. We got the first goal in Game 2 and we were okay there, so I think that’s a huge thing for us.”
Kyle Quincey

“Getting that goal (Weber) was real huge. I thought the first period we did what we wanted to do. We know it was going to be a real hostile environment and it started right from the start. Our guys had real good focus.
– Predators coach Barry Trotz

JOE LOUIS ARENA SHINES:


The old barn can still give chills on occasion.

The first playoff game on home-ice is always special. This was no different, with an outstanding pregame production that included on-ice lighting, the emergence of Al the Octopus and 20,000 screaming fans waving red glow sticks in unison. It created an electric playoff setting as Red Wings players took the ice.

THE STREAK IS OVER:
The talk coming into Game 3 was about the job Detroit had done shutting down Nashville’s top ranked power play. However, the Predators flipped the script just 2:48 into Sunday’s matchup as Drew Miller was whistled for interfering with Rinne, then Pavel Datsyuk’s stick broke mid-kill and Shea Weber finished off a hectic sequence in front of Jimmy Howard by scoring the first power play goal on the Red Wings since March 24, a streak that was at 37 straight at the time of the Miller penalty.

“I think that the odds are just not in your favor when you take so many penalties,” said Kyle Quincey. “I thought we did a good job on the penalty kill. We just let that one goal go in.”

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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 10:15 AM

Here are today’s Game 3 media musings from across the Winged Wide Web.

Brian Hedger of NHL.com suggests that it isn’t wise to ‘Kick the Mule,’ especially this time of year.
View entire article.

The Detroit Free Press focuses on how Johan Franzen is fueled by physical play.
View entire article.

Ansar Kahn has more on how Detroit’s penalty kill is changing the series.
View entire article.

Did you know that Nashville has never won a playoff game at Joe Louis Arena? The Tennessean spent the day at Predators practice, where the opposition is looking to buck that trend.
View entire article.

The Red Wings and Predators are both hoping to play better in Game 3, according to the Detroit News.
View entire article.

Drew Sharp levels praise upon Jimmy Howard, who has excelled with one of the two toughest sports jobs in the city.
View entire article.

Brendan Savage of MLive has more on the Red Wings trying to take advantage of home ice.
View entire article.

When necessary, these Wings will fight back according to DetroitRedWings.com.
View entire article.

And finally, Red Wings TV has Mike Babcock’s press conference from yesterday.


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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 9:45 AM

Photo by Dave Reginik / Getty Images
Niklas Kronwall

DRW:
These fans have been awful good to you at home this year, how big do you expect to see them step up for the playoffs?
NK: “They always do. They always find another gear. Hopefully, we can feed off of them and come out with energy right from the start”

DRW:
Talk about the work that this team has done on the penalty kill. You don’t want to be in the box, but Nashville hasn’t taken advantage of it yet.
NK: “You don’t want to be in the box as you said. Still, there are going to be times when you are and when that happens, you want it to work out well. I think everyone here actually relishes the opportunity whenever you get the chance. It is an opportunity to gain momentum whenever you kill one off. You grow stronger and build off of that.”

DRW: What are the Stanley Cup Playoffs like in your homeland of Sweden?
NK: “I think the NHL is obviously growing as a sport and so is hockey. The NHL is becoming more and more popular in Europe and they are showing more games there every year. Nowadays, they are pretty much showing different games every night.”

DRW: How does this compare to when you were growing up?
NK: “The NHL didn’t have as much coverage back then. You saw some highlights on the news, or clips every once in a while. Mostly you just heard about guys, or watched guys who had played over there, but came back. Things like that.


Justin Abdelkader

DRW: The Joe is sure to be electric today, are you excited?
JA: “Absolutely. It always seems like, since I have been here, that this place is amped up a little more for the playoffs. The fans have been awesome all season long and that will continue. They’ve been loud and really into games.”

DRW: How great was it to see guys like Cory Emmerton and Drew Miller step up as they did in Game 2?
JA: “It’s always important, especially in the playoffs, having depth and four lines that can contribute. To get that help, like we did in Game 2, was big for us.”

DRW: Did the Bertuzzi-Weber fight put the Game 1 incident officially in the past?
JA: “I think so. I think what was taken care of was taken care of. I think that everyone moves forward from here. It’s just one of those things in hockey where he (Bertuzzi) was sticking up for a teammate and it was good to see.

DRW: Is there any concern with the 12PM start time for a playoff game? Does it take you out of your routine at all?
JA: “Not really. We’re used to practicing at that time, so your body clock is somewhat used to being ready to skate. Sure, it throws your game routine off a little bit, but we’ve got to get up early, come to the rink and get ready to go.”

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POSTED ON Sunday, 04.15.2012 / 12:00 AM


Do you remember Game 6 of last year’s playoff series against San Jose?

Do you remember how loud it was? How 20,000 people sung ‘Journey’ together? How our club fed off of that energy en route to victory?

That’s what home ice advantage is all about. It’s all about you, our seventh man, creating an atmosphere at Joe Louis Arena that gives our team an edge.

“It’s going to be fun to play in front of the home crowd,” Johan Franzen said of today’s game. “It’s so much energy, so much help for us on the ice. The fans are usually good for an extra chance or two out there, even if they don’t play.”

The Red Wings did exactly what they wanted to do in Nashville, splitting the first two games of this series and stealing home ice. Now, the team is back in the friendly confines of the Joe, where they do a better job of protecting their house than anyone else in the National Hockey League.

“We’ll take the best of five and go back to our building and get at her,” Mike Babcock said after Game 2.

Put on your game face! It’s going to be one heck of a show. 

QUICK STATS:
Cory Emmerton became the tenth Red Wings player to become a Worldwide trending topic on Twitter, doing so after beating Pekka Rinne in the first period of Game 2. Other Wings players to become Worldwide trending topics include Darren Helm, Johan Franzen, Jimmy Howard, Mike Modano, Brad Stuart, Brendan Smith. Chris Osgood and Todd Bertuzzi. Pavel Datsyuk is the only player to become a Worldwide Trending Topic twice.

The Red Wings may have taken six penalties in Game 2, but another solid special teams effort kept that from burning them. Detroit is now 12/12 shorthanded in the series, having killed off 37 consecutive penalties overall, nearly four periods worth.

Tonight marks the 70th consecutive sellout at Joe Louis Arena, a streak dating back to December 19, 2010. The Red Wings were 31-7-3 on home ice this season. Nashville was 22-16-3 on the road.

The Red Wings are 6-8 all-time in playoff series where they’ve split the first two games on the road, though they have won four of their last six. Detroit is also 8-2 over the last 10 series where they have lost Game 1, but won Game 2.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE
10:30 AM – Doors open at Joe Louis Arena
11:30 AM – Player warmups
12:00 PM – Pregame Show
Immediately Following – Game 3 on NBC and 97.1 The Ticket.

KEY INJURIES

Hal Gill did not take part in Nashville’s practice on Saturday due to a lower body injury. He is expected to be a game-time decision after missing the first two games of the series.

Darren Helm will miss the remainder of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs after surgery to repair lacerated tendons in his right forearm.



GET HERE EARLY
Following the success of last year’s decorated stairs celebrating 20 consecutive years of playoff appearances, Joe Louis Arena will once again be decked out for the big occasion. Vinyl photographs of the Wings’ Stanley Cup championship banners and former Stanley Cup celebrations will don the East Gate, West Gate and box office doors.

TODAY’S GIVEAWAY

Thanks to MotorCity Casino Hotel for providing today’s multicolored glow wand giveaway. All fans attending Game 3 can find these on their seats as they enter the seating bowl.

WIN PLAYOFF TICKETS WITH 89X

Forget the worm! Early birds will have the chance to win tickets to Game 4 thanks to a special promotion that 89X is running on Monday morning. Starting at 7:30 AM, fans will have the opportunity to shoot on an octopus outside of Joe Louis Arena, with seats to Tuesday’s game up for grabs. If you aren’t able to make it, listen to 89X to follow along.

GAME SIX TICKETS
Tickets to Game 6 (Round 1, Home Game 3) of the Red Wings-Predators series go on sale to the general public tomorrow at noon. Tickets can be purchased at the Joe Louis Arena Box Office, by calling 313-396-7575, or visiting www.ticketmaster.com.

PLAYOFF BEARDS 
That five-o-clock shadow has given way to slow growth. It’s a good look this time of year, because playoff beards are officially in-style.

And if you are growing one, why not do so for a good cause by taking part in the 2012 Red Wings Beard-A-Thon, with all proceeds going directly to the Detroit Red Wings Foundation

For more information, visit the Beard-A-Thon website here: http://bit.ly/IKB1Vm

Thanks to Philips Norelco for supporting the 2012 Red Wings Beard-A-Thon.

VOTE FOR DATSYUK:

Pavel Datsyuk is the Red Wings representative in EA Sports’ NHL 13 Cover Vote after besting teammate Jimmy Howard in the first round of balloting. Now grouped with 30 other NHL stars, Datsyuk needs your help to reach the final 16. Vote: http://covervote.nhl.com/:b=firefox9/#/ballot

FOLLOW US

Twitter handles for some pretty important people.
@DetroitRedWings – The team’s official account
@CEmmer48Cory Emmerton
@GNyquistGustav Nyquist
@RSheahan4Riley Sheahan

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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.14.2012 / 2:02 AM


THE AMWAY QUALITY PLAY OF THE GAME


Mike Babcock wanted net-front presence in Game 2 and he got it on the game-winning goal. Just 58 seconds after Nashville had cut the lead to 2-1. Brad Stuart threw a puck at the net from the left circle, which caught Johan Franzen’s leg, beating Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne.

“I don’t know if it was lucky or not,” Franzen said. “I don’t know if he (Stuart) aimed for my leg, or it just touched it. We had a three-on-two, I passed it to Stuie and got in front and well, it went in.”



TONIGHT’S THREE STARS, POWERED BY RAM
1) Jimmy Howard – Made 24 saves and withstood six Nashville power plays in the process.
2) Johan Franzen – Scored the game-winning goal 9:57 into the second period after Brad Stuart’s shot caught his leg.
3) Cory Emmerton – Put the Red Wings up 2-0 on his first Stanley Cup playoff goal with 4:27 left in the first period.

TWEET OF THE NIGHT:
@sam_hoot That’s how you get yourself a goal. Beauty of a block and finished up by an excellent shot. #CoryEmmerton #DRWChat #NHLPlayoffs

And a special bonus Tweet from former Mike Commodore, the former Red Wing who was traded to Tampa Bay at the trade deadline.

@Commie22 Little @CEmmer48 buried his first playoff goal tonight? I didn’t see it … give me a rating out of 10 … how nice was it?

THEY SAID IT:
“It was definitely a huge game for us tonight. Going back 1-1 instead of 0-2 is huge. It’s going to be fun to go home and play in front of our crowd.”
Johan Franzen

“I don’t know. We’re just trying to do our job, trying to be big in the lanes and trying to be aggressive when we can. We’re just trying to do what we’ve talked about on the penalty kill.”
– Nick Lidstrom

“I thought we did lots of things really well. I thought we played harder with more grit, but I didn’t think we were as good defensively, and I thought we gave up better chances and had more puck luck tonight than we did the other night. We didn’t have a whole bunch of guys that skated in the third period and we allowed them to get going, which I didn’t like as much. We’ll take the best of five and go back to our building and get at her.”
– Mike Babcock

BERTUZZI, WEBER GET IT OVER WITH EARLY:
You had the feeling that given all of the talk over the last 48 hours that something was going to happen with Shea Weber and somebody. It’s one of those unwritten codes of hockey where a player who does something the other team feels is dirty, that they’ll have to answer the bell at some point.

That point was just 1:36 into game 2 when Todd Bertuzzi and the aforementioned Weber started to throw punches, with the referees letting them go for a good minute before it all ended.

“I don’t know if it inspired, but I just thought he had to do the right thing and he did,” Mike Babcock said. “I thought it was important for our team that it happened.”

“It’s hockey,” Bertuzzi said. “Things happen in a game or whatever. It’s something you’ve gotta do. Stick up for your teammates and you do stuff like that. The game was more important. It was good to get a win in here.”

STEPPING UP:
Those who needed to step up in Darren Helm’s absence did so in a big way in Game 2. Drew Miller picked up an assist on Ian White’s first period goal that opened the scoring. Then, Cory Emmerton forced a turnover before firing a beauty of a shot that beat Pekka Rinne and gave the Red Wings a 2-0 lead.

“The feeling was more that it was an important goal to go up 2-0, so I was just happy with whoever scored,” Emmerton said. “Whenever you could score and help out at the same time it’s a nice feeling.”


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POSTED ON Friday, 04.13.2012 / 2:15 PM


Ken Kal catches up with Gustav Nyquist on today’s episode of Game Day Preview, presented by Comerica Bank

The Red Wings held an optional morning skate at Bridgestone Arena this morning.  Some of the guys, including Jimmy Howard, Tomas Holmstrom, Drew Miller and Kyle Quincey, hit the ice, while others settled for an off-ice workout.

According to Mike Babcock, the only change in tonight’s lineup will be Gustav Nyquist, who will replace the injured Darren Helm. Your lines should look something like this at puck drop.

Filppula / Zetterberg / Hudler
Franzen / Datsyuk / Bertuzzi
Nyquist / Abdelkader / Cleary
Miller / Emmerton / Holmstrom

Lidstrom / Ericsson
Kronwall / Stuart
Quincey / White

Howard
Conklin

Scratches: Conner, Mursak, Sheahan, Kindl
Injuries: MacDonald (back), Helm (arm), Eaves (concussion)

MICHIGAN LOTTERY INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Today’s number is 259. Did you know that Nick Lidstrom is the club’s all-time leader in playoff games played with 259? He is also just seven games behind Chris Chelios for the league record of 266 games played.

Those 259 games amount to another three-plus 82 game regular seasons. When asked if those additional games were a factor this time of year, Lidstrom laughed and said, “no, it isn’t. This is where I want to be. You want that chance to go deep into the playoffs.”

The Michigan Lottery is going Full Tilt with Club Keno! Try it today to get your FREE draw! Visit www.michiganlottery.com for more information.



THREE KEYS
Here are a few keys to consider for tonight’s Game 2.

Carry it over
The Wings were outshot 13-5 in the first period of Game 1, taking four penalties in the process. The final 40 minutes were much different, as Detroit carried much of the play, including a 32-13 shots edge.

“We’re just going to come out and continue with the same effort we had in the last two periods,” said Brad Stuart following that game. “I think we’ll be all right. That’s the way these series tend to be.”

Stay out of the box
The Red Wings and Predators were the least penalized teams in the National Hockey League in 2011-12, which is what made Game 1 so frustrating to watch at times.

“The game was lacking flow,” said Kyle Quincey. “It’s too bad, it usually shouldn’t.”

Detroit killed off six penalties and scored a pair of power play goals, but that didn’t provide comfort to coach Mike Babcock.

“Even though we won the specialty teams battle last game, for me, I didn’t think that was productive for our team because we didn’t get our people on the ice.”

Case in point, Henrik Zetterberg played 25:48 in Game 1, while Todd Bertuzzi played just 12:29. More time playing five-on-five hockey will mean more time for the Wings depth across all four lines to shine.

Net-front presence on Rinne
Mike Babcock made an interesting point regarding Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne yesterday. You rarely beat him on the first shot, so your best chance is going to be on second opportunities.

He talked more about Rinne’s work earlier this morning.

“I didn’t think we were hard enough on their goaltender,” Babcock said his team in Game 1. “I think their goaltender made a couple of huge saves. They got one tough break where we shot the puck and it came off of him, went behind the net and hit the referee, came right back out front but he still managed to make the save.”

“To me I don’t think he can be surprised by great saves. I think you’ve got to get enough of them there to get second chances.”

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POSTED ON Friday, 04.13.2012 / 1:00 PM

The local blogging community recently came together to show support for the injured Patrick Eaves. The culmination of that campaign was a poster of the Red Wing forward, crafted from the numerous well wishes left on their pages. Good work guys!  View poster.

Getty Images
Sticking with that theme (and credit those guys for a great idea), we wanted to give fans the opportunity to send their best wishes to Darren Helm, soliciting your responses via Twitter last night.

Here are some of your emails.

“Get well soon Helm. We’ll need you out at the Stanley Cup parade.”
– Harold Burton

“Your skill and talents, and even your speed, are only outdone by your genuineness, your kindness and integrity. Take care Darren. Hope you heal well, and feel well really soon.”
– Donna Sutherland and family

“I hope that your arm heals quickly and that you make a speedy recovery. I know that you are a hard working player and a great asset to the Red Wings. I wish you the absolute best. You are an inspiration.
– Ryan Urbanowicz

“As hockey players ourselves, we are sorry to hear about your injury. We have been lucky so far to have never been severely injured on the ice, so we hope you have a fast and safe recovery. Just remember, when everything seems to be going against you, airplanes take off against the wind; not with it. Get well soon!
– Amanda and Savi

“It’s a haiku

You were back one day!
Everything seemed okay,
Then your wrist got cut


I hope that you heal up and get healthy soon.”
– Tara

“We live in Kilarney, Manitoba, Canada. It is about 150 miles southwest of Winnipeg, which is Darren’s hometown. Since he started playing for the Red Wings, Helm has quickly become one of our favorite players. His work ethic is the thing that we all admire. I have two sons, four and five years old. The oldest (Braden) started playing hockey this year and as his coach, I am often telling him that he needs to work hard like Helmer so he can be as fast as Darren when he gets older.”
– Steve Sample

HOCKEYTOWN WORLD
Seven players with Michigan ties have been selected to the U.S. Men’s National Team, which will compete in the 2012 IIHF World Hockey Championships on May 4-20 in Finland and Sweden.

-    Cam Fowler (Farmington Hills)
-    Jack Johnson (Michigan)
-    Max Pacioretty (Michigan)
-    Jim Slater (Michigan State)
-    Nathan Gerbe (Oxford)
-    Jeff Petry (Michigan State)
-    Patrick Dwyer (Western Michigan)
  
The United States Women’s Hockey Team will take on Switzerland in the semifinals of the IIHF Women’s Championship this afternoon.  Taylor Wasylk of Port Huron, a former member of the Little Caesars U19 team, is the lone Michigan connection.

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