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04/20/12. WCQF Game 5. Wings @ Predators 8:00pm ET, CNBC, FSND, CBC, 97.1

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Baffled Wings Need To Find The Answer Quickly

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Presents the following thread:

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AT

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This game is a presentation of:

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Western Conference Quarter-Final, Game 5

Location: Bridgestone Arena

Date: Friday, April 20th, 2012

Time: 8:00pm EST

Teams: Detroit Red Wings (Central) at Nasvhille Predators (Central)

Status Nashville leads series 3-1

Television Broadcast Provided by:

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CNBC

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Fox Sports Net - DETROIT

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CBC

Radio Broadcast Provided by:

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97.1 FM

NHL.com Game Preview

Detroit Red Wings at Nashville Predators Game Preview - 04/20/2012

Big Story: If Detroit wants to extend this series and avid being ousted in the first round for the first time since 2006, the Red Wings must find a way to get some pucks past Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne and the impressive, shot-blocking fortress of defenders in front of him. Rinne has stopped 81 of 84 shots combined in winning the previous two games, both of which were played in Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. The Predators can clinch the series with a victory and advance to the conference semifinals for the second straight year.

Team Scope:

Red Wings: Detroit put a lot of pucks on net in the past two contests but got just three goals to show for all that effort after two straight gut-wrenching losses on home ice - where the Red Wings were dominant almost all season long. The situation is even more urgent as the series shifts back to Nashville with the Preds on the verge of clinching it in just five games. Much like they did in last year's West semifinal after falling behind 3-0 against the San Jose Sharks, the Wings must narrow their focus even tighter and play for the pride of the Winged Wheel logo on their chests in order to get the series back to Detroit for a sixth game. As for strategies to score more goals, it doesn't sound like the Wings are planning to do much differently in their approach.

"We've got a lot of believe in here," forward Henrik Zetterberg said after Thursday's practice session at Joe Louis Arena. "We're a good team. We just have to keep playing like we did last game and eventually we're going to score. You can't let it get to you."

Predators: Nashville has come a long way in two years since dropping a heartbreaking Game 5 to the Chicago Blackhawks in a memorable first-round series for both teams. Had the Preds beaten the Hawks in that overtime thriller in the United Center, they would have carried a 3-2 series lead back home to Bridgestone Arena for a chance to upset the heavily-favored Blackhawks. The experience taught the core group of Predators a harsh lesson about capitalizing on opportunities in the postseason and it showed in the waning moments of Game 4 in this series - with the Wings pushing for a tie down 2-1 and Nashville clinging to the lead. Instead of coughing up the lead and losing, the Preds got a goal of their own to win 3-1 and take their 3-1 series lead back home. Now, they have a chance to win a second first-round series in a row on home ice.

"You're definitely not comfortable when you've got a talented team like Detroit trying to win," defenseman Kevin Klein told the Tennessean. "If you lose Game 5 and all of a sudden you end up back in Detroit with Game 6, then anything can happen."

Who's Hot: Nashville's Gabriel Bourque leads all rookies in these playoffs with three goals, while Klein has scored in two straight games for the Predators -- the first time he's done so in his career. Rinne has stopped 116 of 121 combined shots in his three victories.

Injury Report: Patrick Eaves (concussion/injured reserve), Joey MacDonald (back) and Darren Helm (wrist surgery) are all out for the Red Wings. … Defenseman Hal Gill (lower body/foot) is still day-to-day for the Predators.

Stat Pack: Rinne went 14-0-2 in the regular season when stopping 35 or more shots. His regular-season numbers were even better when facing 40 or more, going 5-0-2 with a 1.66 goals-against average and .958 save percentage, including a 4-3 victory against Detroit Dec. 15 in Nashville. He is also 3-0 in this series when facing 35 or more shots after stopping 40 in Nashville's 3-1 win in Game 4. … Detroit is 38-37 all-time in Game 5s of playoff series.

Puck Drop: The Red Wings, who've qualified for 21 straight playoffs, haven't lost a series this early in the postseason since the eighth-seeded Edmonton Oilers upset them in 2006 on their way to a stunning run to the Stanley Cup Final.

A loss on Friday could be the final game in the career of Wings' captain Nicklas Lidstrom. The 41-year-old says he'll follow his usual post-playoff procedure and take some time before making his decision.

Coach Mike Babcock expects to have No. 5 back in the lineup next fall.

"I'd be shocked if he retires," Babcock said Thursday. "But I've been shocked before."

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PLEASE score the first goal tonight!

It feels like 2 months of playing catchup, doesn't it. I have no idea of the actual stats, but I'd guess the Wings since late February have been behind in games 50% of the time, tied 25% of the time, ahead 25%. As a fan, that has been exhausting, lol.

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I'm pretty mellow about tonight's game. I don't expect the Wings to be the better team. Because I don't expect them to suddenly start crashing the net or winning races/battles for pucks. And I don't expect Pinne to sag or Howard to play out of his mind. So while not giving up, I am prepared for a loss. Someone once told me the key to happiness is lowered expectations. But you know, playoffs are filled with 1-goal games and for any one game the team who you'd expect to win or even who deserves to win actually loses. Could happen tonight. So c'mon Wings, surprise me. It would feel fantastic to have a Sunday game to look forward to.

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I don't expect the Wings to win tonight, so if they do win then they will have exceeded my expectations. Even though I'm expecting a loss I'll probably yell at the TV as much as I always do and be asked to keep it down. My expectations are low-key but I know my emotions, no matter how hard I try, will not be.

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My expectations are low-key but I know my emotions, no matter how hard I try, will not be.

Yep, even when a Wings' elimination doesn't come as a huge shock or you have a couple of days to prepare, the moment when the clock actually winds down on the season and they start the handshake line really hits home as a shock and it stings. Really don't want to see that tonight. I'll be grinning like a fool until Sunday if they pull out a W tonight.

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Yep, even when a Wings' elimination doesn't come as a huge shock or you have a couple of days to prepare, the moment when the clock actually winds down on the season and they start the handshake line really hits home as a shock and it stings. Really don't want to see that tonight. I'll be grinning like a fool until Sunday if they pull out a W tonight.

I gave up last year thinking I could keep myself emotionally in-check during playoff season. I'll be shouting like a kid on the playground if they get the win tonight.

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I really hope they win tonight as I don't want to shave my playoff beard yet but I won't be surprised if and when they lose. The first goal is so huge as the Preds don't generate a lot of shots nor goals 5-5 which leads to the next point: STAY OUT OF THE BOX!! Can't take dumb penalties and need to capitalize if the Pred do.

I don't want to get to invested tonight for a potential loss but I know I will probably yell a few times.

GO WINGS!!!

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Is it humanly possible to win a faceoff against Paul Gaustad? This guy is the new Peter Zezel.

With Gill having been out this series and Kostitityn and Radulov not doing all that much series, Gaustad was the one deadline acquisition that has made an impact against the Wings.

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With Gill having been out this series and Kostitityn and Radulov not doing all that much series, Gaustad was the one deadline acquisition that has made an impact against the Wings.

He's destroyed anyone we put out there on faceoffs.

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Nashville 48.2% Faceoff Percentage

Detroit 51.8% Faceoff Percentage

That just doesn't seem right to me. It seems every game I'm yelling at the TV about the multitude of faceoff losses.

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Breaking out the signed McCarty jersey today. The Wings need some grind line effort tonight and for the res tof the series.

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They are playing garbage hockey but 1 break can change a teams entire outlook. Like Lidstroms goal in 2002 in Vancouver. I dont expect them to win tonight, I didnt expect theyd even win 1 game this series with the way they finished out the season. But Ill be there hoping against hope we can pull it off.

If they do lose tonight or even lose in a game 7, I sure hope Kenny sees what I knew last year, this team needs a pure goal scorer in the worst way. They are full of set up guys with nobody to set up. And please dont say Franzen is that guy. Hes nearly worthless for 70 games a season.

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Breaking out the signed McCarty jersey today. The Wings need some grind line effort tonight and for the res tof the series.

I'm wearing my Maltby one for good measure haha.

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Nashville 48.2% Faceoff Percentage

Detroit 51.8% Faceoff Percentage

That just doesn't seem right to me. It seems every game I'm yelling at the TV about the multitude of faceoff losses.

That's because of the timing of the important faceoffs. It seems like the Wings lost a ton in their defensive zone and lost quite a few in the offensive zone, all at critical times in the games.

Look at shots on goal. The Wings are blowing them away, big time. But how many are great scoring chances compared to the Preds? Pretty strange stats.

I was really rooting for Chicago and the Sharks. If they would have won their series (which it doesn't look like), along with Vancouver losing theirs, the Wings would actually have had HIA for the rest of the Western Conference Playoffs. But, I guess it doesn't matter at this point. Winning this series IS still possible, but it's now highly, highly improbable. The Wings don't need to look at it as having to win 3 in a row, 2 on the road. They need to look it at winning just one game at a time.

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The playoffs are such a crap shoot anymore...No one is really blowing out anyone else or clearly dominant...Most of the games are decided by one goal...many in OT...they are unlike any other professional sports playoffs...so I guess its tough to get to worked up about the Wings performance...The "can't miss" teams of the playoffs like Vancouver, Pittsburgh and the Rangers are all having their troubles...you can add all the talent in the world, but it doesn't guarantee anything...We could sign Weber, Suter, Semin and Parise, but if they have an off week or one of them gets injured...it's a first round exit...guess that's why they play the games...

I'm hoping for the best tonight, but wouldn't surprise me if it didn't happen...What seems to be getting little mention in this series is the teancious defenisve zone work of the Preds...no one touches the puck without someone draped all over them...Seems like every time a Wing has the puck they are trying to fend off a Pred with one hand and handle the puck with the other...while it seems like the Preds gain the zone with relative ease...Other than that play by Emmerton, I can't recall any other odd man rushes...I don't think it's totally about Rinne at all...

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It's not about the quantity of shots, it's about the quality of shots. Take good shots, be in positions for grabbing recbounds and making deflections and get bodies in front of the net. Go Wings!

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