Red Wings not ready to pack up trailing Preds 3-1
The Detroit Red Wings have enough postseason experience to know
any comeback starts with one win in a series where the first three
games were decided by one goal.
The Red Wings are facing their earliest elimination from the
playoffs since 2006. Edmonton sent Detroit home after six games;
Nashville is trying to do it in five.
The Predators will look to advance for a second straight year
when they host the Red Wings on Friday night. A loss could be
Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom’s final game should the defenseman
decide to call it quits this summer.
”It’s not time to get too frustrated,” Detroit center Valtteri
Filppula said Thursday.
These are the Red Wings after all, the team with the longest
postseason streak in North American major professional sports at 21
straight seasons. This is the franchise with four Stanley Cups with
six Western Conference titles and 32 series victories in that
stretch. This season, the Red Wings set an NHL record winning 23
straight at home.
They can tap into their experience of just a year ago trailing
San Jose 3-0 in the Western Conference semifinals. They won three
straight to force a Game 7 – a game Detroit lost 3-2.
”We just have to think positively,” Filppula said. ”We
hopefully still have a few more games to play. We just have to play
through it, and hopefully the puck starts going in.”
Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard said the most important thing is
to ”outwill” the Predators.
”Our backs are against the wall,” Howard said. ”We all know
the circumstances if we lose we start our summer. I don’t think
anybody wants that in this room.”
Solving Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne will be key. The Red Wings
have outshot the Predators in all but one game, and they won that
game despite a meager 17 shots. Rinne has made at least 35 saves in
Nashville’s three wins, becoming just the eighth goalie in the past
24 postseasons to post three games with 35 saves or more against
the Red Wings.
”He catches everything, so we have to keep it away from his
glove,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. ”But I don’t think we
can tell our guys to stop shooting. We have to keep getting to the
net as hard we as can.”
Babcock wants his Red Wings to play just as they did Game 4 on
Tuesday night despite losing 3-1. He said the exceptions are the
mistakes in their own zone and off the rush. He sees the Predators
making lots of the same mistakes only to see Rinne cover up with
”We just have to stay the course, I believe,” Babcock
Babcock also isn’t ready to talk about the possibility of not
having Lidstrom back for a 21st NHL season, saying he’s heard the
same story for years now. He said he’d be shocked if Lidstrom
”The way I look at it is we have to win a game, so that’s our
approach,” Babcock said.
Lidstrom said his health is good and he’ll handle a decision to
return just as he has in recent years. He’ll take some time to
figure out what he wants this summer, after the season ends. He
also isn’t thinking about whether Friday night is his last
”I think I’ve learned from other years, I try to push that
aside and just go out and try to play a real solid game and come
out with a win,” Lidstrom said.
The pressure is on the Predators, whose first postseason series
win came a year ago in six games over Anaheim. They lost their
first two playoff series against their Central Division rival,
though those losses came as the young franchise lost its first five
Nashville has won the last two, the first in an overtime win at
Anaheim that allowed the Predators to return home and clinch that
first series. They also avoided elimination winning Game 5 at
Vancouver in the Western Conference semifinals to force a sixth
Rinne said it always seems to be the hardest game, especially
”They’ve been there and done that, and they have the experience
and veteran players who have seen those kinds of situations and
been through them,” Rinne said. ”We have to really be prepared
for it and treat it as game number one or any other game. The team
that wants is more is going to get it.”
Nashville finished ahead of the Red Wings in the standings for
the first time this season and just won its first two postseason
games in Detroit in Games 3 and 4. Coach Barry Trotz believes he
hasn’t seen Nashville play its best yet. He said Friday night will
be the biggest game yet and hopes his Predators are ready.
”You are in survival mode,” Trotz said. ”It is no different
than someone who is surviving for their life type of thing. You
have that fear factor. You have that desperation. You have that
adrenaline factor that kicks in. It is one of those things that is
hard. They have a great team and they have a great tradition. We
have to match everything that they have and then some.