Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Predators host Red Wings to kick off playoffs

The Nashville Predators will host the Detroit Red Wings in Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinals series on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. central at Bridgestone Arena. It's the first game of a series that most of the experts are picking the Predators to win.

During the regular season, both of these teams won three games against each other. Both teams were able to get one win in the other team's building, which is what the Red Wings will be trying to do on Wednesday night.

Detroit posted a 17-21-3 record on the road during the regular season, while the Predators were 26-10-5 on home ice. If that trend stays the same, the Predators have the advantage going into Wednesday night's game in Music City. However, the playoffs are an entirely different animal. Statistics from the regular season are important, but they don't mean nearly as much once the playoffs roll around.

These two teams have seen each other twice before in the postseason. In both 2004 and 2008, the Red Wings were able to defeat the Predators in six games. Detroit held the number one seed in the Western Conference in both of the previous two meetings between these two teams in the playoffs. This time, Nashville is the higher seed.

Nashville is looking to kick the series off with a bang. If the Red Wings are able to get a win on Wednesday night, home ice advantage suddenly shifts in their favor. Expect the Predators to come out and try to put pressure on the Red Wings from the beginning of the game.

My player to watch for the Red Wings is Pavel Datsyuk. "The Magician" is as good of a two-way player as there is in the NHL. He can do things with the hockey puck that nobody else in the league can do. He always seems to take his game to an even higher level in the playoffs. Nashville will have to contain him if they hope to win the series.

For Nashville, my player to watch is Alexander Radulov. Now that he has had nine games to get back in the swing of things against NHL competition, look for Radulov to crank it up to another gear in the playoffs. He's a world-class offensive player that can beat the opposition in so many different ways. Look for him to create several offensive chances on Wednesday night.

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

Follow Hockey Night in Nashville on Twitter: @hockeynightNSH

No comments:

Post a Comment