The Nashville Predators hit the NHL's main stage today as they face the Detroit Red Wings on NBC at 11 a.m. Central in Game 3 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series. With the series tied at 1-1, the imperative is for the Preds to at least win one of the next two games at Joe Louis Arena, and return to Nashville next week with the opportunity to take control.
Follow after the jump for the latest updates heading into this one...
Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings are looking forward to asserting the dominance they showed at Joe Louis Arena this season, as they racked up the top home record in the league, with a record 23-game winning streak along the way). The Preds won their last visit there, so they certainly won't be intimidated.
I would expect that all the Weber/Zetterberg/Bertuzzi stuff is considered done and over with, and it sounds like Matt Saler at On The Wings sees it that way:
Todd Bertuzzi stepped up for his teammate in the old fashioned way and settled the matter from a physical perspective. The important thing to point out is nobody else at any point went out of their way to get Weber: he paid with that early fight.
Then the Wings took care of business after that. They got the win in spite of Weber and that's the right response.
For Detroit, they have to be pretty confident in their goaltending and special teams play so far, but the main emphasis will be to reduce the number of penalties taken. They've stymied the Preds through these first two games, but that's a dangerous thing to rely on.
As for updates on the Red Wings...
Red Wings' Ian White misses practice but says he'll play Sunday against Nashville | Detroit Free Press
White took a shot off the foot in Game 2, but doesn't expect to miss any action.
Wings' 'Mule' ready to kick in Game 3 - NHL.com
Expect Johan Franzen to assert himself at the front of the Nashville net even more aggressively on home ice.
Outside of a possible change with the forward lines, the other lineup issue to keep an eye out for is whether or not Hal Gill is ready to go. I'd guess not, but this is the playoffs and guys will push the envelope at times to get back out there.
Some would argue that today's game is the biggest in franchise history, given the pressure that a loss would bring in Game Four, and the free agency issues looming this summer.
But it isn't.
Gaining at least a split out of today's game and Tuesday's Game Four is indeed essential, but for today, the Predators don't need to panic. They played well enough to win Game Two, and if they bring forth a similar effort today, they stand a good chance of putting the Red Wings in the hole.
And for your Preds stories...
Trotz says he’s ‘contemplating’ lineup changes - Predators Insider
So who might get into the lineup? Jordin Tootoo, Craig Smith, Colin Wilson...?
Smashville 24/7 - Fisher positive despite line’s lack of production
What to make of the SK74/Fisher/Erat line? In my opinion, Marty's get chances and just hasn't buried one yet, Fish is battling well and I like his physical presence in the offensive zone, but Sergei has disappeared.
Legwand Has Fond Memories Growing Up In Detroit - Nashville Predators
Can Playoff Leggy get it done in his hometown?