Kukla's Korner Hockey
from On The Forecheck,
This Predators/Red Wings series is shaping up to be a real struggle no matter which team ends up winning; Nashville can claim momentum heading into Game 5, but Detroit has two games at home in what has now become a best-of-three affair, so I don’t think there’s a significant advantage to either side right now. One area in which the Red Wings are dominating, however, is the faceoff circle, and that’s where I’d like to provide more detail than what fans usually see.
Overall, Detroit boasts a 130-112 advantage in Faceoff Wins in this series, gaining possession after 53.7% of draws.
continued for numerous breakdowns from the face-off circle…
via Puck-rakers at the Columbus Dispatch,
Good for the Predators. You may hate them, Blue Jackets fans, but you’ve got to give this club credit for the way it competes. I maintain that Barry Trotz is a no-brainer for coach of the year. Bruce Boudreau second.
Anybody who votes for Mike Babcock is a joke. Arace, Reed and Portzline could coach that club to 48 regular season wins, easy. We’d get beat in the second-round of the playoffs, but ...
from John Glennon at Chilling Out at the Tennessean,
...But the Wings were sunk in Game 4 due in part to the poor goaltending of Dominik Hasek, a six-time Vezina Trophy winner. And Detroit coach Mike Babcock just announced that Chris Osgood will replace Hasek for Game 5.
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised at this.
After all, Ellis outplayed Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo down the stretch, as the Predators battled the Canucks for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
What’s another all-star to knock off at this point?
From the AP via the Mercury News,
Dominik Hasek is out, and Chris Osgood is in.
Hasek said Thursday that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock told him Osgood will start Game 5 against the Nashville Predators, who won two straight at home to even the first-round series 2-all.
From Red Wings Corner:
Asked whether Osgood will be the Red Wings’ netminder for the remainder of the playoffs, coach Mike Babcock laughed and said, “Just win baby.”
Thorsten (Kaye) currently plays wealthy casino owner, Zach Slater, in ABC’s daytime drama, All My Children. For that role, he received a Daytime Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Lead Actor” in 2006. He has also appeared in films, The Silencers, Deadly Desire, and The Bone Collector. An avid rugby and hockey fan, Kaye will chronicle the Detroit Red Wings run to the Stanley Cup.
Now I’m not usually one to flip-flop with goaltenders, but I believe we have to start with Osgood on Friday, absolutely. I don’t know how you can’t.
There was talk, before this series, about how Hasek would have to prove something, and to me, thus far, he hasn’t proved anything. He let in two soft ones again, and even though one bounced off of Kronwall, I think it was, you have to make those saves.
Heck, I would’ve let those in. Those are saves that have to be made.
The goals are coming in from too far out, their ‘D’ are the ones doing the damage. He has to be able to stop a puck from 60 feet away!
more from Thorsten at his NHL Connect blog…
from the Tennessean,
The teams now head back to Joe Louis Arena for Game 5 Friday. Babcock will have to decide whether he goes back to Hasek, who was 27-10-3 this season for the team that posted the NHL’s best record in the regular season, or sticks with Osgood (27-9-4).
“I’m pretty sure (what I’ll do), but I always like to take a deep breath first and then decide what I’m going to do,” Babcock said.
Still, it’s a decision that’s likely to be subject of great debate in Hockeytown.
But there was no discernable discussion about making a change after Game 3, when Hasek said he should have stopped a couple slap shots that found the net in Nashville’s 5-3 win.
He was, unsurprisingly, even more upset after the Game 4 loss.
“Very disappointing,” he said. “Last 60 minutes, worst hockey I’ve played in my life. I have nothing to say about it. I feel very bad about myself.’’
from the Tennessean,
So while there were not alarm bells ringing in their dressing room Monday night at Sommet Center, they were well aware of a disturbing trend that cost the Western Conference’s top seed Game 3.
Nashville scored its first four goals in pairs, with second-period goals just 2:09 apart and third-period goals that tied and won a 5-3 game separated by only nine ticks of the clock.
In Detroit’s Game 2 win, Nashville’s two goals came in an 11-second span.
“Anytime a team scores, the next shift is so critical,” Detroit Coach Mike Babcock said. “The thing we talked about … as a coaching staff is obviously we’re not doing a good enough job of it. They get excited and play a little bit better and we seem to come out on our heels.”
Well, we improved on some of the things from Game 1. Just seemed like they got more of the bounces today. We got a break on our first goal, but they caught a break on the game-winner and seemed like we caught the post on some chances when they were back on their heels.
Down 0-2 isn’t what you want, but teams have come back from that before. I know it’s a cliche, but we have to take it one game at a time. We’re back home for Games 3 and 4. If we win our home games, then it’s back to even. On Monday night we need our fans to be as loud as you were that last home game against St. Louis. Let’s concentrate on getting that one on Monday and moving on from there.
-Steve Sullivan at his Nashville Predators blog...
from the AP via ESPN,
The Red Wings took advantage of what appeared to be good fortune in Game 1 when offsides wasn’t called just before they scored the game-winning goal.
Nashville general manager David Poile was critical of the officiating in both games while talking to reporters on Saturday between the second and third periods.
“Just make the right call,” Poile said. “Between officials and supervisors, we can’t get the right call.”
Detroit coach Mike Babcock, of course, defended the men on skates wearing stripes and toting whistles.
added 7:40pm, more on this from John Glennon at the Tennessean…
via the Tennessean,
Predators center Scott Nichol has a broken left thumb, is scheduled to undergo surgery this afternoon in Nashville and will miss at least the remainder of the Predators-Red Wings playoff series.
He’s expected to be sidelined 2-3 weeks.
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