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Traffic and screens key for Wings in Game 2

Wings' trio cause problems in front for Nashville's rookie goalie

Friday, 04.11.2008 / 4:18 PM ET / News
By Michael Caples  - Detroit Red Wings Staff Writer
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Traffic and screens key for Wings in Game 2
DETROIT -- When Detroit coach Mike Babcock was asked about trying to get traffic and screens in front of the Nashville goal for Game 2, he was quick to respond with: “You didn’t think we got any?”

Babcock elaborated, saying that getting as much pressure in front of rookie goalie Dan Ellis is key - just like it’s always been.

“You just got to maintain and get the puck on the net and get as many second opportunities as you possibly can,” Babcock said. “Now that’s easy to say, but they’re doing everything they can to eliminate that as well, just like at our net we’re doing the same. You always want to get to their net and keep them off your net. That’s been the plan in hockey forever.”

Dan Cleary, Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom have been the Red Wings’ workhorses in front of the opposition’s crease all season, and continued to do so in Game 1 of the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals against the Predators.

Detroit took a 1-0 series lead with a 3-1 victory Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.  Henrik Zetterberg scored the game-winning goal with 13-minutes left in regulation, and added an empty-netter in the closing seconds.
 
Franzen scored Detroit’s first goal of the game while patrolling the front of Nashville’s crease, with Cleary setting up the play from the end boards.

The Wings’ net-front trio combined for six of the team’s game-high 40 shots.

“I thought our most physical players last night were Franzen and Cleary with the puck,” Babcock said. “That to me is a big part of the game. You have got to be able to get to the net.”

Nashville defenseman Greg Zanon said that a top priority for the Predators is making sure that Ellis has a clear view on all of Detroit’s shots.

“We just need to keep boxing out, and letting Danny (Ellis) see the puck,” Zanon said. “Holmstrom and Franzen and Cleary are really good at getting to the front, and they’re big guys. It’s just a matter of if we can block pucks, block them and move them out and not let them have a chance to set-up.”

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said that the Detroit offense does a good job of getting pressure in the offensive zone.

“Detroit always has high shot totals, they throw everything at the net,” Trotz said. “They have a strong mental drive, they create a lot of stuff of the retrieval process of shooting pucks off the net and creating a little chaos and creating some havoc and they have great retrieval skills.” 

Trotz added that it’s important for his defensive units to beat the Wings to loose pucks if the Predators can expect to return home with the series tied at 1-1.

“Your defense have to be mobile, they have to seek out and win some of those retrieval battles, and we didn’t do enough of that,” Trotz said. “That’s something we do but we didn’t do enough of it last night, we’re going to have to get more pucks at the net and by that you put pressure on their defense.” 

Babcock credited the Predators for bringing a physical presence in front of their goal.

“I thought they did a good job physically in front of their net,” he said. “I thought (Dan) Hamhuis boxed out well, and (Shea) Weber always tries to be as physical as he can, and (Jordin) Tootoo’s always going to finish his checks, he always does.”

Keeping up with the physical nature of the series will become even more difficult for the Predators, who lost center Scott Nichol to a broken thumb in the first period of Thursday’s game. Trotz said during his Friday press conference that the team may call up forward Josh Langfeld from Milwaukee. Langfeld spent last season in the Red Wings’ system.

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HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59