Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Nashville looks to take 3-1 series lead for first time

The Nashville Predators will look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead on Tuesday night in the Motor City as they take on the Detroit Red Wings in Game 4 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series. Nashville was able to get a 3-2 victory over the Red Wings in Game 3 despite being out-shot by a 43-22 margin.

Nashville has had an opportunity to take a 3-1 lead in the series twice before in their first round playoff matchups with Chicago in 2010 and Anaheim in 2011. In both cases, the Predators lost by a three-goal margin.

Detroit will look to solve Pekka Rinne, who was sensational in net for Nashville in Game 3. The Red Wings will throw everything at the net on Tuesday night. They don't want to head back to Nashville for Game 5 on Friday night trailing 3-1 in the series.

After finally converting on the power play on Sunday, the Predators have now gone 1-for-16 on the power play in the first three games of the series. Detroit has won the special teams battle so far in the series, but the Predators have been able to overcome that through the first three games. However, the longer that trend continues, the more it favors Detroit.

The Predators will be sitting in prime position to win a playoff series against Detroit for the first time in franchise history if they are able to win on Tuesday night. Taking a 3-1 series lead back to Music City with a chance to close it out on Friday night would be huge. Expect Detroit's best game in Game 4.

My player to watch for the Red Wings is Henrik Zetterberg. He has posted two goals in the first three games of the series, which leads all Detroit players. Zetterberg has always been known for his offensive creativity, and his accurate shot is a deadly weapon for the Red Wings.

For Nashville, my player to watch is Martin Erat. Through the first three games of the series, Erat has been relatively quiet. He's collected an assist on Kevin Klein's highlight-reel goal in Game 3, but hasn't been very effective so far. After being Nashville's most consistent offensive forward in the regular season, Erat has to raise his game for the Predators for the remainder of the playoffs.

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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