Nashville's Game 3 victory won't rattle Detroit's veteran-laden roster
Posted: Monday April 12, 2004 5:54PM; Updated: Monday April 12, 2004 7:54PM
No. 1Detroit vs. No. 8Nashville
STORY OF THE SERIES
If the Red Wings can get center Pavel Datsyuk going, they could make quick work of the Predators.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
The Predators were on the verge of being out of the series when a mistake by Red Wings defenseman Derian Hatcher in Game 3 led to a short-handed goal by center David Legwand. Suddenly, Nashville had life. The upstart Predators, outplayed for huge stretches in Game 3, nonetheless stole a win behind Tomas Vokoun's exceptional goaltending. The win has made the series interesting and ratcheted up what is developing into the NHL's freshest rivalry.
SURPRISE OF THE SERIES
Aside from center Robert Lang, the Red Wings' all-star lineup of scorers has hardly gotten on the board: Brendan Shanahan has yet to score, and Steve Yzerman and Pavel Datsyuk have not been getting the chances they're used to getting. For Nashville, winger Adam Hall (three points) has been unusually potent.
PREDATORS WIN IF...
Vokoun continues to play the way he did in Game 3, when he seemed to stop shots he didn't even see. The Predators also have a speed advantage, and at times get the Red Wings on their heels while generating some dangerous scoring chances. If the Predators can win Game 4, they may get Detroit to start pressing which would be a huge advantage. But the bottom line is that Vokoun has to be prepared to stop 35-40 shots a game for Nashville to have any chance.
RED WINGS WIN IF...
They just keep doing what they're doing. Forwards Brett Hull and Nicklas Lidstrom have been getting scoring opportunities as have numerous others in the Red Wings' bloated quiver of scorers. Detroit must remember not to panic if it gets behind a goal, or even if the Predators tie up the series. The Wings are clearly the better team.
I picked Detroit before the series, and I'm sticking with it. The Predators could push this to six games, but barring that, Detroit wins in five.
Sports Illustrated senior writer Kostya Kennedy takes sides each week at SI.com.