GAME: Detroit Red Wings at Nashville Predators.
PLAYOFF SERIES: Western Conference quarterfinals; Red Wings lead 2-0.
TIME: Sunday, 4 p.m. EDT.
Darren McCarty made a simple statement about playoff hockey.
"It doesn't matter how you win," the Detroit Red Wings forward said. "It doesn't have to be pretty."
Considering how Saturday's game ended for the Nashville Predators, if they don't get off to a good start in Game 3, things could get real ugly real fast in their first-round playoff series with the Red Wings.
Mathieu Schneider's slap shot went off goaltender Tomas Vokoun and off the boards before hitting Vokoun's skate and trickling into the net with 2:45 left to give Detroit a 2-1 victory Saturday over Nashville and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.
"I thought it was underneath him, I turned my head and thought the play was over," Schneider said. "I can't believe it went in.
"I think it's probably a little deflating for them to go through the whole game and lose in the last couple of minutes."
Manny Legace made 27 saves, and Robert Lang scored for Detroit.
"He's dangerous right now," Red Wings coach Dave Lewis said of the center, acquired from Washington in February.
Nashville has scored just two goals in the series and has been outscored 4-0 in the third period. The Predators led 1-0 through two periods in Game 1 on Wednesday before falling apart over the final 20 minutes.
Vladimir Orszagh scored on Saturday for Nashville, which is 0-for-9 on the power play in the series.
"We're standing in a bit of a hole," Predators coach Barry Trotz said.
The Predators were without standout defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who left Wednesday's game with what the team is calling "an upper body injury." Zidlicky was third on the team during the regular season with 53 points, and was a key performer on the power play.
"That has to hurt them," Lewis said.
The odds are stacked against the young Predators. Detroit has the most playoff experience among teams in the postseason, and Nashville has the least.
Nashville began the playoffs with a combined 247 games of postseason experience, while the Red Wings have 11 players who have played at least 100 games, led by Chris Chelios with 216.
Detroit is making its 53rd postseason appearance and 14th in a row while Nashville is in the playoffs for the first time in its six-season history.
Nashville's top two scorers - Steve Sullivan and Scott Walker - haven't registered a point in the playoffs after combining for 140 during the regular season.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Red Wings - 109 points, 1st seed. Predators - 91 points, 8th seed.
PLAYOFF TEAM LEADERS: Red Wings - Lang, 2 goals; Kirk Maltby, Tomas Holmstrom, Brendan Shanahan, 2 assists; Lang and Holmstrom, 3 points; Shanahan, 4 PIM. Predators - Adam Hall and Orszagh, 1 goal; Scott Hartnell, Greg Johnson and Martin Erat, 1 assist; Kimmo Timonen, 10 PIM.
PLAYOFF SPECIAL TEAMS: Red Wings - Power play: 10 percent (1 for 10). Penalty killing: 100 percent (9 for 9). Predators - Power play: 0 percent (0 for 9). Penalty killing: 90 percent (9 for 10).
GOALTENDERS: Red Wings - Legace (2-0, 1.00 GAA); Curtis Joseph (no appearances). Predators - Vokoun (0-2, 2.52); Chris Mason (no appearances).
REGULAR SEASON SERIES: Predators, 3-2-0-1. Detroit scored 13 goals in winning the last three matchups. Vokoun was pulled in two of those three after allowing just six goals on 79 shots in the first three games. Joseph went 2-3 with a 2.21 GAA in five starts, while Legace allowed one goal in winning his lone outing against Nashville. The Wings' Shanahan had five goals and two assists in the series, while no Predator had more than two goals.
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