After three games of controversy, hard hits, and fighting, the Detroit Red Wings find themselves trailing the Nashville Predators two games to one. Although Detroit seems to be the better team, Nashville has shown amazing resilience, great goaltending, and physical play en route to the series lead through three.
The story of the series for Detroit has been a slew of untimely penalties. After being the second-least penalized team in the regular season, Detroit has been whistled for 20 penalties in just three games.
The officiating in the series has been criticized, and for good reason, but that is something that cannot be changed. What can be changed is the Wings’ play.
For moments, the Red Wings look great, and the third period of game three is an example of this. The Wings played great hockey, got numerous good scoring chances, and outshot the
In other moments, they look inexperienced and impatient. Just minutes into the game, winger Drew Miller drove the puck hard to the net, bowling into goaltender Pekka Rinne. Miller was called for goaltender interference, and although the call was criticized by many, in my mind it was a call consistent with how the officials have been calling games this season.
To make a long story short, Miller’s penalty led to a Shea Weber power play goal, putting the Preds up 1-0 before the Red Wings knew what hit them.
If Detroit wants to make a comeback and win this series, the penalties have to stop. There is a line between physical play and boneheaded play, and Detroit has been leaning toward the latter.
Complain about the officiating all you want, (trust me, Mickey Redmond will be right there with you) but that won’t change the fact that Detroit has to play much more disciplined hockey if they want to win the series.
That said, I’m not worried. The Wings dominated play in the second two periods of game three, and it looked as though they finally found what they have been looking for. The power play has looked very good at times, and the Red Wings have continued their thrilling five-on-five play. In game three, the Red Wings fired a whopping 43 shots at Rinne, who looked fantastic in stopping 41 of them.
Detroit’s penalty killers have also looked great, killing off all but one penalty in 16 tries. As good as the penalty kill has been, being in the box constantly limits any team’s ability to win.
Before I conclude this article, I have to get my Pavel Datsyuk highlight out there- check out his amazing pickpocket followed by a wraparound goal during game three here.
What to watch for
The veterans will look to come out with extra intensity for game four in a must-win situation. Look for the veterans as well as the younger guys to bring the hits on Nashville
Tuesday vs Nashville (7:30pm, FSD, NBCSP)
Friday @ Nashville (8:00pm, FSD, CNBC)
Sunday vs Nashville (if necessary- time TBD)
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