Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Game 4: @ Nashville, 7:30 ET

Tonight is the fourth game in the Western Conference Quarterfinal series between Nashville and Detroit. The Wings won the first two games, 3-1 and 2-1 respectively, with game-winning goals from Tomas Holmstrom and Mathieu Schneider. However, the Predators won their first playoff game at home on Sunday, 3-1, to make the series 2-1. Manny Legace has made all three starts for the Wings as has Tomas Vokoun for the Predators. Both will start tonight as well. The Wings know they need to play a full game tonight if they want to win. They have been guilty of sitting back for two periods before coming on in the third all series and tonight they cannot do that. It's the difference between a 3-1 lead and a 2-2 tie. They cannot let the Predators back in the series. The last thing the Wings want is a repeat of the 2001 playoffs where they were up 2-0 before losing the series 4-2 to the LA Kings. The Predators are entirely capable of doing that as long as the Wings sit back and let it happen. I wouldn't call this a must-win game but a solid, decisive victory tonight would make it very hard for the Predators to come back. This game is huge. For the Predators, this is a must-win game. They will need to feed on their fans again as they did on Sunday and play with the same determination they have all series. Tomas Vokoun will need to make the necessary saves and not allow the Wings to get an easy goal all while fueling his hatred of them. The fans will have to be as supportive of their team (and as nasty to the Wings) as they were Sunday. This game is even bigger for Nashville. Dave Lewis said there may be some lineup changes tonight. He could replace Steve Thomas with Jason Williams or Boyd Devereaux in order to get some speed or, if he's healthy, put Jason Woolley in there in place of Derian Hatcher. The former is more likely than the latter, for sure. I doubt the Predators will make any changes.


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