Originally posted on Fang Faction  |  Last updated 4/10/12

Bridgestone Arena has been longing for the Stanley Cup Playoffs to return since last season, when they were eliminated by the Vancouver Canucks in the second round. Wednesday night, Smashville will be rocking in Gold, cheering for their Nashville Predators to take a 1-0 lead in the series and witness history unfold in front of their eyes. 

Game 1: Stand With US! It is time to rock 'n roll Smashville! Go crazy!

TV/Radio Coverage

Coverage in Nashville: SportSouth and 102.5 The Game

Coverage in Detroit: None and 97.1 The Ticket

Coverage in US: CNBC

Coverage in Canada: CBC and RDS2

Playoff Series


Line Up News

Starting Goalies: (Stats vs Opponent)

Name W L OT SV % GAA #35 Pekka Rinne 3 3 0 .920 2.67 #35 Jimmy Howard 2 2 0 .908 2.27

Projected Predators Scratches: #38 D Jack Hillen, #49 D Ryan Ellis, #15 C Craig Smith, #18 W Brandon Yip, #33 W Colin Wilson, #23 W Brian McGrattan, #30 G Jeremy Smith and #72 W Jack Maclellan

Projected Red Wings Scratches: #43 C Darren Helm (Knee), #31 G Joey MacDonald (Back), #15 C Riley Sheahan, #39 W Jan Mursak and #4 Jakub Kindl

Injury Report

Predators: Anders Lindback (Upper Body) Probable, Brandon Yip (Upper Body) Probable and Hal Gill (Lower Body) Game Time Decision

Red Wings: Darren Helm (Knee) Questionable, Joey MacDonald (Back) Out, Patrick Eaves (Out) and Dan Cleary (Knee Soreness) Questionable

Projected Line-Ups


LW C RW #74 Sergei Kostitsyn #12 Mike Fisher #10 Martin Erat #46 Andrei Kostitsyn #11 David Legwand #47 Alexander Radulov #57 Gabriel Bourque #13 Nick Spaling #27 Patric Hornqvist #18 Brandon Yip #28 Paul Gaustad #22 Jordin Tootoo D D #20 Ryan Suter #6 Shea Weber #75 Hal Gill #59 Roman Josi #51 Francis Bouillon #8 Kevin Klein G #35 Pekka Rinne #39 Anders Lindback #30 Jeremy Smith

Red Wings

LW C RW #93 Johan Franzen #13 Pavel Datsyuk #44 Todd Bertuzzi #51 Valtteri Filppula #40 Henrik Zetterberg #26 Jiri Hudler #14 Gustav Nyqvist #8 Justin Abdelkader #20 Drew Miller #11 Dan Cleary #48 Cory Emmerton #96 Tomas Holmstrom D D #5 Nicklas Lidstrom #52 Jonathan Ericsson #55 Niklas Kronwall #23 Brad Stuart #27 Kyle Quincey #18 Ian White G #35 Jimmy Howard #29 Ty Conklin #31 Joey MacDonald

Detroit Red Wings Players to Watch:

Name G A +/- #40 Henrik Zetterberg 22 47 14 #13 Pavel Datsyuk 19 48 21 #51 Valtteri Filppula 23 46 18

Thoughts on Both Teams

Red Wings: The Detroit Red Wings enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 21st consecutive season. Although this time, the Red Wings enter the First Round as the "underdog." Detroit has some veteran players that are used to this. Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Bertuzzi, Franzen, Holmstrom and Cleary. That is a lot of players that know how to win a series and the Stanley Cup. 

The key player to this series isn't Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard or Nicklas Lidstrom. No, it is Niklas Kronwall. His hits are punishing to every single player he hits. If a players head is down, leaving the zone, you better believe Kronwall is going to light him up. 

Nicklas Kronwall has the keys to the game in his hand. A big hit while the Red Wings don't have momentum or are down, can give them momentum to change the game around. The Predators need to keep their head up, always.

Darren Helm is most likely going to be out, but should be able to return to the lineup in Game 2. Hopefully he is going to be set back because Helm is one hell of a forechecker. Joey MacDonald and Patrick Eaves are out, so that means that Ty Conklin will back-up Jimmy Howard. Dan Cleary should be in the line-up, after he suffered a soar knee. If Cleary isn't, look for Riley Sheahan to be back in the lineup.

Predators: The Nashville Predators enter the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs in a seed higher than the Red Wings for the first time in franchise history. This will be the third time they play Detroit, but unfortunately they have won the first two. The pressure is on the Nashville Predators to win the series and the Stanley Cup.

Pekka Rinne is the key factor for the Nashville Predators in Game 1. Rinne has to start the series well so it takes longer for the Detroit Red Wings to learn how to score on him. He really has to play on his head the whole series, similar to the second round against the Vancouver Canucks in 2011.

Hal Gill was the biggest story in Tuesday's practice. Gill was absent from practice for the second time since Monday with a lower body injury apparently suffered Thursday night against the Dallas Stars. Here is the story from the Predators. According to Trotz, Gill skated earlier in the day and is suffering from a lower-body injury. “He’ll be just a game time [decision] tomorrow,” Trotz said. “We thought with his injury, no sense trying to aggravate it any more. We’ll know in the morning.” Hopefully he is back in the lineup Wednesday night so he can shut down Zetterberg and Filppula.

Anders Lindback returned to practice Tuesday. Lindback is very likely to be in the lineup to back up Pekka Rinne. Brandon Yip should be ready to go after he suffered an upper body injury, as well as Lindback. The only question is, will Yip be in the lineup Wednesday night?

Here are some Playoff Quick Hits from the Nashville Predators.

• Nashville is 3-3 all-time in Western Conference Quarterfinal Game Ones, including wins in back-to-back WCQ Game Ones (2010 at Chicago and 2011 at Anaheim). 
• The Preds won their first ever playoff series against Anaheim (4-2) in the Western Conference Quarterfinals last season.
• Nashville is returning 15 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 2010-11 playoffs.
• Five players – Bourque, Ellis, Hillen, Josi and Smith – are poised to make their Stanley Cup Playoff debuts this postseason. 
• Martin Erat is tied with Legwand for the most career postseason assists (12) in club history. He ranks second to David Legwand in points (19), goals (7) and games played (36). 
• Mike Fisher led all Predators with six points (3g-3a) against the Ducks last year. He finished the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs with seven points (3g-4a). Fisher leads all Predators with 35 career postseason points (17g-18a).
• Hal Gill enters the 2012 playoffs ranked 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.
• Patric Hornqvist set franchise records for shots in a playoff season (43) and in a playoff series (29) during the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. Anaheim.
• Legwand posted nine points (6g-3a) during the playoffs last season, including a four-game points streak (4g-1a) to close out Nashville’s WCS series with Vancouver. Legwand is the Predators’ franchise leader in every postseason offensive category; he has posted 22 points (10g-12a) in 37 postseason games with Nashville.
• Pekka Rinne is the franchise’s all-time leader in nearly every postseason goaltending category including games played and wins. He posted a franchise-record for goals-against average in a series (1.94) along with a .932 save percentage in the Western Conference Semifinals vs. Vancouver.
• Ryan Suter (29gp) and Weber (29gp) have each taken the ice in every Predators’ playoff game over the last three seasons – they are the only players to do so.

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