NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 11: Matt Halischuk #24 of the Nashville Predators celebrates after a goal against the Detroit Red Wings in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bridgestone Arena on April 11, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
David Boclair of the Nashville City Paper perhaps said it best Thursday morning on 104.5's Wake Up Zone - late Wednesday night Game One ended, but the series really got started. Blood is already boiling on both sides of the ice, and some of that has spilled over online, as we've had a number of people crossing over between here and Winging It In Motown, getting their hackles up.
Again I'll make an appeal for keeping things decent here. That means "prime time TV" language, no trolling, and avoiding personal attacks on other readers, whether regulars of OTF or not. The strength of SB Nation lies in the variety of its communities and the different standards which each can adopt - some sites live for verbal exchanges far dirtier than anything we saw on the ice Wednesday night, but that's not how we roll here, and let's keep it that way.
If you see something that you believe violates the OTF community standards, just "Flag" it, don't respond or get into a back-and-forth that will only make things worse. Don't reward agitators with the one thing they seek - attention.
On the ice, though, things can get ugly. This is the Stanley Cup playoffs, after all, deciding the championship of the fastest and toughest hockey league in the world. We wouldn't expect anything less, would we?
While reading your preview, listen in as Pete Weber joined Fan 590 in Toronto to talk up this series last night:
This also comes from Pete - note that the satellite & U-verse channels are different from Game One:
Tonight's game will be aired on SportSouth beginning at 6;30 pm ct. Here are the channel locations:
DISH Network: 454 (SD) 9577 (HD)
DIRECTV: 651 (SD) 651-1 (HD)
AT&T U-verse: 694 (SD) 1694 (HD)
SportSouth on Comcast:
Nashville: 26 (SD) 1676 (HD)
Chattanooga: 53 (SD) 402 (HD)
Knoxville: 58 (SD) 450 (HD)
Memphis: 52 (SD) 831(HD)
Detroit Red Wings
Babcock said forward Gustav Nyquist will be in the lineup for Game 2. Based on today's practice, Nyquist will skate with Justin Abdelkader and Danny Cleary, and the fourth line will be Cory Emmerton with Tomas Holmstrom and Drew Miller.
There's been some excitement in Detroit about the rookie Nyquist, who has shown offensive potential in limited action so far:
|2011 - Gustav Nyquist||18||1||6||7||+2||2||0||0||0||19||5.3|
What remains to be seen is how the Red Wings will react to the nastiness which came at the final horn Wednesday night. Typically, Detroit's approach has been to decline physical confrontation while focusing on creating scoring chances and drawing penalties instead. Given the way their power play looked in Game One, that's not a bad idea.
One thing you can expect is for the Red Wings to go after the front of the net more consistently:
But the Red Wings felt they helped the Predators goaltender out in Game 1 by not establishing more of a net presence.
"We were too easy to play against," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said Thursday. "We have to get to the net more (in Game 2 tonight). We've talked about that. ... It's no real surprise. We didn't do our part."
Nashville, however, did a good job of boxing Detroit out, keeping it outside and forcing shots from the perimeter.
"We had a hard time getting to the net, we have to drive and stuff like that," Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom said. "They kept us outside. When the shot came, we weren't at the net. ... You have to be your guy and be determined to get to the net."
Said Red Wings forward Johan Franzen: "We just have to make it a little harder on the goalie and get in front of the net. Drive a little harder and push him back in the net and get more (room) to shoot on."
Don't expect much change heading into this game. The forward lines from Thursday's practice matched the game Wednesday night, and Hal GIll didn't skate as he recovers from his lower body injury. He may feel well enough to skate & play in this one, but I'm not betting on it. That yields a lineup as follows:
SK74 - Fisher - Erat
AK46 - Legwand - Radulov
Bourque - Spaling - Hornqvist
Yip - Gaustad - Halischuk
Suter - Weber
Josi - Klein
Buillon - Hillen
The burden going into Game Two falls upon the top two scoring lines to make more of an impact, both at even strength and on the power play. They were largely shut down in Game One, as those 6 forwards combined for only 7 shots on goal. At least you know that after Mike Babcock's comments before Game One, those 3rd- and 4th-line Predators forwards have to be feeling pretty good about themselves, though.
As for the defense, you hope that they still come out and play aggressive hockey, and don't tighten up due to the excessive whistles blown Wednesday night, or the fine Shea Weber received for his work on Zetterberg at the final horn. The worst thing to do would be to back off and give the Detroit forwards any extra room in which to operate.
Remember to sport your Preds gear at work or school today, and get ready for a special 6:30 start at Bridgestone Arena tonight! Locally, the game will be broadcast on Sport South, and I'll see about getting specific channel information posted in the Game Thread later on.