Three Questions: Wings-Predators
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' 34th game
The Red Wings won’t be sleeping easy tonight, after captain Nicklas Lidstrom left the ice during the second period. All of a sudden, Lidstrom wasn’t on the ice, but both Paul Boyer (equipment manager) and Piet Van Zant (athletic trainer) were still behind the Wings’ bench. The Wings’ captain played for 9:23, and missed the majority of the second and all of the third period. After the game, coach Mike Babcock told FSN that Lidstrom got hit by the puck on a penalty kill, and that he was forced to stop playing. X-rays were negative, but Babcock didn’t know if Lidstrom would be available for tomorrow’s game against Colorado.
If he’s out for longer than tonight, where will Lidstrom be missed most?
You can’t replace a player like Lidstrom, and he will be missed in all aspects of the Wings’ game plan. But he might be missed most on the blue line during the power play, where he plays the role of ‘quarterback’, directing all of the team’s man-advantage plays. Lidstrom has three power-play goals on the season, and has been the catalyst for many more. Lidstrom not being on the ice was most evident in the closing seconds of Friday’s game, when the Wings had a six-on-four advantage but couldn’t finish off the comeback. Luckily for the Wings, they have great depth at all positions on the ice. Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart, who head up the second defensive unit, won’t have a problem stepping into Lidstrom’s amount of ice time.
What was the Wings’ play of the night?
Andreas Lilja gets the nod tonight, for a terrific play along the blue line early in the third period. Only three minutes into the final marker, Lilja took the puck from Henrik Zetterberg, and wound up for a slapshot. He got the Nashville defender in front of him to drop to the ice for a shot block, but Lilja didn’t shoot. Instead, he sent a great pass to forward Mikael Samuelsson, who fired in a goal from just above the goal line.