The Nashville Predators look to close out this best of seven series Friday night, on home ice at Bridgestone Arena. The Detroit Red Wings are trailing the Predators in the series, for the first time ever, 3-1. If the Predators win tonight, the Red Wings would be eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the Predators would advance to the second round in five games. Puck drops at 7:10 PM CT.
Bring your ping-pong paddles Smashville! NOT ping-pong balls to throw on the ice. Todd Bertuzzi is a sissy.
Coverage in Nashville: SportSouth and 102.5 The Game
Coverage in Detroit: FS-D and 97.1 The Ticket
Coverage in US: CNBC
Coverage in Canada: CBC and RDSI
First Round Series Scores
Line Up News
Projected Predators Scratches: #75 D Hal Gill (Foot), #22 W Jordin Tootoo, #23 W Brian McGrattan, #24 W Matt Halischuk, #33 C Colin Wilson, #38 D Jack Hillen and #37 G Chet Pickard
Projected Red Wings Scratches: #43 W Darren Helm (Lacerated Forearm), #31 G Joey MacDonald (Back Spasms), #2 D Brendan Smith, #3 D Garnet Exelby, #4 D Jakub Kindl, #15 C Riley Sheahan, #21 C Tomas Tartar, #25 D Brian Lashoff, D Travis Ehrhardt, #37 D Doug Janik, #39 W Jan Mursak, #41 W Chris Conner, #53 C Louis-Marc Aubry, #59 C Francis Pare, #63 C Joakim Andersson, #76 W Fabian Brunnstrom and #38 G Thomas McCollum
Predators: #75 D Hal Gill (Foot) Game Time Decision
Red Wings: #43 W Darren Helm (Lacerated Forearm) Out, #17 W Patrick Eaves (Concussion) Out and #31 G Joey MacDonald (Back Spasms) Out
#51 Valtteri Filppula
#40 Henrik Zetterberg
#26 Jiri Hudler
#93 Johan Franzen
#13 Pavel Datsyuk
#11 Dan Cleary
#20 Drew Miller
#8 Justin Abdelkader
#44 Todd Bertuzzi
#14 Gustav Nyquist
#48 Cory Emmerton
#96 Tomas Holmstrom
#5 Nicklas Lidstrom
#18 Ian White
#55 Niklas Kronwall
#23 Brad Stuart
#27 Kyle Quincey
#52 Jonathan Ericsson
#35 Jimmy Howard
#29 Ty Conklin
#13 Pavel Datsyuk
#55 Niklas Kronwall
#40 Henrik Zetterberg
Game 5: Red Wings' Players to Watch:
Thoughts on Both Teams
Red Wings: The Detroit Red Wings enter Game 5 at Bridgestone Arena, a very desperate team. It has been a very, very long time the Red Wings gave faced potential elimination in the Western Conference Quarter-Finals. Friday night, they will be facing elimination.
The Detroit Red Wings haven't been playing bad at all this series, despite the 3-1 series deficit. The key for Detroit is to finish their opportunities. The pressure the 'Wings have put on Pekka Rinne, but not scoring, has been just incredible. In order for them to win, the 'Wings need to just take advantage of their chances.
Surprisingly, the Red Wings lost both home games at Joe Louis Arena. They have been very confident there and have won many games. The 'Wings have controlled both games, but didn't capitalize. Now they are back on the road at a very uncomfortable building, where they face elimination.
Todd Bertuzzi is the guy that the Predators, and Smashville, are targeting. This could be a bonus for Bertuzzi, as it could light a spark in his currently cold game. Don't forget to bring your paddle and chant loudly, "Bertuzzi is a sissy!".
There isn't any line-up changes expected by Mike Babcock, per Ansar Khan. I guess Babcock realizes his team is playing very well, but can't score on Pekka.
Predators: The Nashville Predators enter this game with potentially winning the series. This is the first time the Predators are up in a series 3-1. Friday night would be the best way to put them away in front of a home crowd.
The Predators have to play a solid sixty minutes, and not allow Pekka Rinne to face 40 shots. The Detroit Red Wings have been controlling the last two games, but couldn't capitalize. Nashville needs to put these guys away and not wake up a "sleeping giant."
The Red Wings have a dangerous attack where they can score on a heart beat. But thanks to Mr. Rinne in net, he has been up to the task. I am pretty sure that the 'Wings are slowly finding a way to beat Rinne. Friday night could be the night the Red Wings figure Rinne out.
Barry Trotz is making several lineup changes. Hal Gill could be in the lineup and it all depends on Morning Skate Friday. We will all find out in Pre-Game Skate later that night. Honestly, I hope he isn't in the lineup and they rest him up for either Game 6 or the next round. Trotz needs to make sure his injury doesn't get any worse. If Gill is out, Ryan Ellis is most likely in.
Gabriel Bourque moved up to the second line with Legwand and Radulov, while Andrei Kostitsyn moved down to the third line with Spaling and Hornqvist. Craig Smith is most likely in while Matt Halischuk will be out.
Here are some Quick Hits from the Nashville Predators' website.
PLAYOFF QUICK HITS
• Nashville is 1-0 all-time when face with the opportunity of closing out a series. It defeated Anaheim by a 4-2 margin in Game Six of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals 48 hours after going up 3-2 in the series with a 4-3 overtime win in Southern California.
• This is the third Western Conference Quarterfinals series between Nashville and Detroit. The Red Wings have won both of the previous series – 4-2 in 2004 and 4-2 in 2008. Nashville has played more playoff games (16) against Detroit than any other team in their seven trips to the postseason.
• Thirteen of the 16 postseason games between the Predators and Red Wings have been decided by two goals or fewer.
• Three players remain on Nashville’s roster from the 2004 WCQ series vs. Detroit – Erat, Legwand and Tootoo. Eight players who played against Detroit in the 2008 WCQ remain – Erat, Legwand, Radulov, Suter, Tootoo and Weber.
• Nashville is returning 14 players from last season’s playoff team – Erat, Fisher, Halischuk, Hornqvist, Klein,Sergei Kostitsyn, Legwand, Lindback, Rinne, Spaling, Suter, Tootoo, Weber and Wilson. Francis Bouillon was injured and did not play during the 2011 playoffs.
• Martin Erat has posted the most assists (14) in franchise postseason history. He ranks second to Legwand on the franchise’s all-time playoff points (21), goals (7) and games played (40) lists.
• Hal Gill – who has missed the first four games this series – is tied for sixth among active defensemen in postseason games played. He has skated in 105 career playoff games, making him the most experienced Predator in the postseason. Sixty-nine of those games have come in the past four seasons.
• Ryan Suter (33gp) and Shea Weber (33gp) have each taken the ice in every Predators’ playoff game over the team’s last four trips to the postseason – they are the only players to do so.
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