Sunday, April 11, 2004

Game 3: @ Nashville, 4:00 ET

Today is the third game in the Western Conference Quarterfinals series between Nashville and Detroit. The Wings won the first two games, 3-1 and 2-1, respectively, with Holmstrom and Schneider getting the game-winning goals. Manny Legace was solid in both outings, making a cumulative 50 saves on 52 shots. He was especially strong in Game 2, holding the Wings in it before the late fluke goal from Schneider. Manny played well despite a slight headache, the lingering effect of a Mathieu Dandenault slap shot that beaned off his mask in practice. He was cleared to play from two doctors, the Wings not taking any chances with injuries at this stage of the playoffs. The Wings need to have a strong 60-minutes, and not rely on Legace for chunks of each period. Although the Wings and Preds have approximately the same number of shots thusfar (57-52 Wings), the Preds have gotten more quality chances on Manny than the Wings would like. Conversely, the Wings need to create a few more quality chances and score earlier in the game, so that they aren't in the position they found themselves in the third period of Game 2. I imagine that the Gaylord Entertainment Center crowd will be stoked for their first playoff game in Nashville. On this Easter Sunday, It will be an interesting contrast for fans to get home from morning services and watch a hard-checking playoff game. This is a must win game for the Preds, who are down 2-0 in the series despite arguably out-playing the Wings for much of the two games in Joe Louis Arena. The Predators have produced a number of chances, but have not capitalized like the Wings have. The thing that the Wings cannot do is count on the luck that gave them the Game 2 win. That type of bounce may go for the Preds today in their home arena. Robert Lang has been a formidable force so far. After missing three weeks with a rib injury, he has two goals and one assist in the series. He has 11 career playoff goals, his team winning each time he scores. Today's other games Boston @ Montreal, Bruins lead series 2-0, 7:00 PM EST Vancouver @ Calgary, series tied 1-1, 9:30 PM EST


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