The Predators certainly worked hard enough to beat the Red Wings in five games. However, did Nashville end up taking away the one piece from Detroit at the deadline that would have made a difference in this series?
The Red Wings made some changes to give themselves an offensive advantage, but it didn't work in Game 4. With help from Pekka Rinne, the Predators might have the edge in the matchup game in this series.
It's safe to say it was a pretty fluky goal. Sergei Kostitsyn had the puck along the boards and was covered tight by two Red Wings players. Dan Cleary was there to pick up the puck when it squirted free from the puck battle along the boards, but when he turned around and tried to move up ice, all Legwand had to do was tap it off Cleary's stick to beat goalie Jimmy Howard.
The Predators were lucky to come out on top with the 3-1 victory. Pekka Rinne was fantastic, making 40 saves for Nashville in earning the win. But, well ... he had to make 40 saves, and by comparison, Nashville only put 17 shots on goal. Detroit completely controlled possession throughout the game, but the Predators were extremely opportunistic in capitalizing on their own chances.
Somehow, the Nashville Predators held off the charge. The Detroit Red Wings completely controlled the last 30 or so minutes of Game 2 while trailing 2-1, and in the third period, the Wings outshot Nashville 19 to four. 19 to four!
Yet Pekka Rinne stood tall, the Predators defense buckled down and when Sergei Kostitsyn made the lead 3-1 at the 16:30 mark of the period, the Detroit effort was all for naught.
Henrik Zetterberg scored on the power play with under two minutes to go in the third period, but they couldn't beat Rinne twice. Kostitsyn's insurance goal turned out to be a vital tally, and the Predators have suddenly regained complete control of the series. Game 4 is set for Tuesday at Joe Louis Arena.
"We felt this was a reckless and reactionary play on which Weber threw a glancing punch and then shoved Zetterberg's head into the glass," said NHL Player Safety chief Brendan Shanahan in a press release. "We reached out to Detroit following the game and were informed that Zetterberg did not suffer an apparent injury and should be in the lineup for Game 2."
The fine is the maximum financial punishment allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but it's rather shocking that Weber didn't see a suspension given the obvious intent of his actions. It's clear that the league feels further discipline is not warranted given the lack of an injury to Zetterberg on the play, but with the recent emphasis on blows to the head, it's a bit curious that Shanahan decided against sitting Weber for even a single game.
Darren Helm will miss the remainder of the 2012 NHL playoffs after successful forearm surgery following his injury in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, the Detroit Red Wingsannounced Thursday morning.
Helm was injured in the first period of Wednesday night's game against the Nashville Predators when Alexander Radulov's skate cut Helm's right forearm. He immediately tossed aside his glove and skated to the bench before heading down the locker room tunnel. He was taken to Vanderbilt University Hospital where surgery was performed to fix lacerated tendons in his forearm.
Helm's expected to make a full recovery, but his loss will be felt in these playoffs. He had missed quite a bit of time at the end of the regular season with an unrelated injury, and his return in Game 1 from that injury had the Wings excited about the depth he could provide. Helm only played about three minutes before suffering the injury to his arm, however.
Center Paul Gaustad scored six minutes and 59 seconds into the action, when his wrister deflected off Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart's skate and behind goaltender Jimmy Howard. Brandon Yip and Francis Bouillon were credited with assists on the goal, which was Gaustad's first with the Predators, who acquired him at the trade deadline.
The real story of the first 20 minutes was the amount of penalties called on the two least-penalized teams during the NHL's regular season. The Red Wings went on the power play just 1:50 into the game when Yip was called for roughing. That power play would be cut short after Johan Franzen was called for roughing after mixing it up with Predators defenseman Shea Weber in front of goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Detroit got a second power play midway through the period, when Gabriel Bourque was called for boarding Ian White. Nashville finished the period 0-for-4 on the power play, including a 1:14 two-man advantage late in the period.
Nashville outshot the Red Wings 13-to-5 and were 15-of-22 inside the faceoff circle. Predators defensemen Ryan Suter and Weber led all skaters with 11:07 of ice time in the first period, nearly half of which came on the power play. Right wing Henrik Zetterberg led the Red Wings with 8:48 of ice time.
The Detroit Red Wings will be a bit healthier heading into Game 1 of their playoff series with the Nashville Predators. Head coach Mike Babcock said Wednesday from Bridgestone Arena that forward Darren Helm will be back in the lineup for the Western Conference Quarterfinal series opener.
"He puts everybody else in the right spot," Babcock told the Detroit Free Press. "We had a great bottom six all year long, and then we lost our people. We had no bottom six; we had no support scoring. It's amazing when you put people in the right spot."
Helm hasn't played since March 17 after suffering a knee sprain. He'll likely play alongside Danny Cleary and Drew Miller in Game 1 while also picking up some ample penalty killing time.