Monday, January 05, 2004

Predators are the Wings' Prey: 6-0

Coming into Joe Louis Arena, the Nashville Predators owned the season series 3-0, "controlling" most of the previous games with their stoppage-happy system that sits back and waits for opposition mistakes. The Preds would say "control" but the Wings would say "bogged-down," because the Nashville system works to negate any remnant of entertainment and fun in the game. And once they get a lead, they put four guys on defense and close out the game. But that wasn't the case at all tonight, because the Wings had too much pride to let the Preds shut them out in front of a home crowd. The Wings really brought the Preds back down to earth and gave them a taste of reality in the form of utter dominance, an important step against a possible first-round opponent. In the first period, Kris Draper scored at 7:34 on assists from Yzerman and Fischer. It put Draper at 17 goals on the season, one more than Hull and only second to phenom Pavel Datsyuk. 1-0 Wings. Then Jason Woolley caught Tomas Vokoun out-of-position after leaving the net, pump-faking as a Predator attemped to block the shot, getting the shot off as Vokoun attempted to regain position in the net. Brendan Shanahan and Ray Whitney got the assists on the play. 2-0 Wings. In the second period, Nicklas Lidstrom got a neat powerplay goal at 9:42 on a blast from the point, assisted from Tomas Holmstrom and Mathieu Schneider. Vintage Lidstrom. Wings 3-0. The Preds played a pretty good second period, slowing the Wings' offensive juggernaut. They outshot the Wings 11-7 on the period. In the third period, Jason Woolley got his second goal of the game in similar fashion to his first, faking the shot to avoid it being blocked and taking it home, assisted by Steve Yzerman and Boyd Devereaux. 4-0 Wings. Vokoun was pulled, and Chris Mason came in as the Wings' next victim. Then Draper also got his second goal of the night on a neat pass from Mathieu Dandenault across the crease. Drapes slammed it in the net for his 18th goal of the season. Kirk Maltby got the second assist. 5-0 Wings. And just when the Preds thought things couldn't get any worse, Ray Whitney capitalized on the powerplay 16:28 into the third, assisted by Jason Woolley and Nicklas Lidstrom. 6-0 Wings. It was a rare night when it comes to goaltender penalties. The Predators' Vokoun and Mason both received delay of game penalties for not moving the puck when the referees thought they could. Vokoun came out of the net and fell on the puck seconds before a breaking Wing and a Pred with him arrived. And Mason dropped his stick and fell on the puck in similar fashion, but with traffic much closer to him. But the referees thought that he could've played it if he had held onto his stick. I like the precedent of getting after goaltenders when they cause unnecessary stoppages, because it sends a message to teams like Nashville and Columbus that they need to play hockey and keep some flow in the game. Columbus' Denis is a multiple offender, and I'd like to see him called. Gaining more and more attention from the hockey world, Pavel Datsyuk was named the NHL Offensive Player of the Month for December. During the month, he recorded 23 points (12 G, 11 A) in 15 games. And he is not on the All Star Game ballot, not to mention Draper. No less than a travesty. It was noticeable how Hull's goal drought has affected his play. On a 2-on-1, Hull committed to the pass way way too early, and the Pred defenseman ate-up the attempted crossing pass. The Hull we know would've shotten and scored. Tonight we had veteran referees in Dennis LaRue and Michael McGeough, so they let a few scrums go without calling penalties, while, for the most part, calling the Preds on obstruction when justified. Way to go guys!! The Wings now are 11-0-1 in their last 12 home games. I usually mention shot numbers more often, but the Wings' dominance was more in the form of puck control and capitalization than barraging the opposition with shots. The Wings came out on top with 27 shots to the Preds' 26: 8-8 in the first, 11-7 Nashville in the second, 12-7 Wings in the third. The Wings' next game is a nonconference match Wednesday versus the Bruins, 7:30 at the Joe. The Bruins are struggling as of late, with a 2-5-3-0 record in their last ten decisions. They are fourth in the Northeast Division.


Post a Comment

Bookmark this post On the Wings

Search this site

<< Home

[Powered by Blogger]