Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
from Ken Wiebe at Best of Seven,
We’re not about to suggest a sweep is in the offing, but goalie Dan Ellis was the only reason the 3-1 game (including an empty-netter) was close.
Having said that, without a pair of turnovers (one by Marek Zidlicky and the other by Shea Weber, which took a crazy bounce off the arm of a linesman and landed back into the defensive zone) the Predators were in position to steal Game 1.
“They just keep coming at you, so we have to limit our turnovers, limit the chances we give them and give ourselves a better chance to win,” said Ellis. “You’re going to have your turnovers because they clog up the neutral zone as good as any team. They don’t give you very much.”
added 9:24am, from the NHL Blog at the NY Post,
Brian Rafalski was shaky on the blueline for long stretches and Dominik Hasek can thank Lady Luck as much as—if not more than—himself for keeping the puck out of his net. The Detroit team that played tonight looked far different than the dominating side that racked up 115 points in the regular season. Nashville took this game to the Wings, and were much closer to a win than the final score indicates.
from the Tennessean,
The controversy over the game-winning goal centered around whether an attempted clear by Predators defenseman Shea Weber hit linesman Pierre Champoux at the blue line or outside the blue line.
Television replays left little doubt that the puck hit Champoux, but apparently he told the Predators otherwise.
“He denied everything,’’ goalie Dan Ellis said. “What a beauty. He said he didn’t have any contact with it. But it is what is. You can’t do anything about it.’‘
The puck eventually found its way to the stick of Pavel Datsyuk, who set up Henrik Zetterberg for the decisive score at 6:54 of the third period.
Watch the video and you decide…
From the Forechecker,
As the Red Wings and Predators prepare to drop the puck for Game One in Detroit tonight, virtually every pundit throughout the hockey world has called for a Red Wings victory, while giving nominal credit to Nashville’s pluck and tenacity for simply making the playoffs.
Those platitudes are nice, but are there genuine reasons to believe that the Predators can pull off an upset over this year’s Presidents Trophy winner? There are indeed…
continued… *5 reasons that Predators fans should have hope
from the Tennessean,
“You find in the playoffs the third- and fourth-line guys become real valuable,” Trotz said. “They become our heroes.”
Where the Predators once allowed bigger stars such as Paul Kariya to step in and take control of critical situations, the grinders made names for themselves this season as the team developed a new attitude in the wake of a payroll reduction.
“In that situation you don’t become accountable to yourself because you depend on the big guns to do it all for you,” said Tootoo, who notched 11 goals and seven assists, doubling his point total from 2006-07. “Now we are creating more opportunities, and when that happens you bring confidence to each and every person on the ice.”
from the Daily News Journal,
The Nashville Predators’ mad dash to the finish, which resulted in a fourth consecutive playoff berth, has made general manager David Poile the leading candidate — in the eyes of many — for Executive of the Year, and understandably so.
Keep in mind, though, the team that Poile cobbled together this season is not the one he wanted. The uncertainty and financial restrictions that preceded the sale of the franchise forced his hand with regard to players such as Scott Hartnell, Kimmo Timonen and Tomas Vokoun, all of whom were traded, as well as Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg, free agents who walked with no effort having been made to re-sign them.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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