Saturday, April 10, 2004

Game 2: vs. Nashville, 3:00 ET

Today is the second game in the Western Conference Quarterfinals series between Nashville and Detroit. The Wings won the first game 3-1 after coming back from a 0-1 deficit in the third period. They got goals from Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom and Robert Lang to win their first opening game of the playoffs since the 2001 series against the Kings. The Wings had a scare yesterday when Manny Legace took a Mathieu Dandenault shot from just inside the blue line off the forehead in practice. Dandenault said "He was leaning in, and the shot came up. It just got him pretty square." Manny was prone for a few minutes while everyone held their breath but he soon got back up and was laughing as he left the ice. Apparently, this is a fairly common occurrence (CuJo had his helmet taken off the day before by an even harder shot) but it still scares the heck out of me when I hear about it. Manny was cleared to play and will start today because "After his performance in Game 1, there's no reason not to start him," said Dave Lewis. There is a markerboard in the Wings' lockerroom with the Predators roster on it. Five players on that roster are underlined in red: David Legwand, Steve Sullivan, Kimmo Timmonen, Scott Walker, and Marek Zidlicky. Someone has written on the board "Abuse these players." Well, it looks like that abuse has already been effective. Marek Zidlicky, one of the most important players on that list, was hit by Kirk Maltby in the first period Wednesday night and left the game. He apparently will not play today which is a major blow to the Preds, for sure. Zidlicky was fourth in defenseman scoring this year with 53 points, 35 of those points being on the power play. The Predators practiced in Nashville the past two days and left him there for treatment on what they are cryptically calling an upper-body injury. This is a must win game for the Wings, who cannot allow the Predators to get back in the series. They got away with one Wednesday night and they have to play a much more complete game today. They will not be able to float around for 40 minutes and expect to pull out a win in the final 20 because the Predators will make it much more difficult today. They will learn from their mistakes and come out firing on all cylinders. The Wings must do the same and show them why they were the top team in the league this year. Elsewhere in the NHL The Habs lost 2-1 to the Bruins last night in Boston when Jose Theodore gave up a weak goal on the first shot of overtime. The Bruins lead the series 2-0. The Flames beat the Canucks 2-1 to tie up their series 1-1 last night in Vancouver. The Avs beat the Stars 5-2 to take a 2-0 lead in their series last night in Denver. Today's other games St. Louis @ San Jose, Sharks lead series 1-0 Ottawa @ Toronto, Sens lead series 1-0 New Jersey @ Philadelphia, Flyers lead series 1-0 New York (I) @ Tampa Bay, Lightning lead series 1-0


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