Overheard At Wings Practice
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By: Jeff Riger
Monday morning the Red Wings practiced in preparation for their first round match-up in the playoffs against the Nashville Predators. Below are some quotes from players and head coach Mike Babcock about some of the bigger storylines in the series.
One of the main topics at practice was the fact that Detroit is the lower seed in the series and has to start the postseason on the road. Does this mean they are the so called “underdogs?”
Nick Lidstrom thinks so…
“We don’t mind at all being underdogs. They are ahead of us in the standings so maybe we should be underdogs. We know it’s going to be a tough series! They are a well coached team, they play real well in their system and they are hard to get scoring chances on. We have to play well defensively and when we have chances, we have to make the best out of them.”
Henrik Zetterberg is not convinced like Lidstrom that the Wings are considered underdogs going into the series…
“I don think we are underdogs! It’s pretty even going in. I think everyone in here believe we will go through (to the 2nd round) if we play well, but if we don’t, we won’t see the second round. You have to play well; you have to play good, special teams got to be better than they are. We have been struggling on the road, we have to be better!”
In addition to the never ending question of who the real underdog is? Another storyline come Wednesday night is who the better goalie is? Jimmy Howard or Pekka Rinne? Howard has the better goals against average while Rinne has the better save percentage and the most wins in the game with 43…
Jimmy Howard talked about playing against Rinne…
“Pekka is one of the best in the game and I have nothing but respect for the guy. I have known him from playing against him in the American Hockey League several times and met him when we played in the All Star game together. He’s a stand up guy, he’s a real nice guy but he’s always a fierce competitor. It makes it real fun when you play against him.”
Mike Babcock also talked about his goalie compared to Nashville’s…
“Well I think it’s going to be real important. You know our goaltender was outstanding for us for a long time and then was hurt for a long time but appears to me like he is on his way back. But he (Howard) is going to have to look at the guy across from him (Rinne) and out play him!”
As for the matchup itself, Nashville is 6 and 4 over their last ten games while Detroit is 4-4 and 2. The Wings have allowed fewer goals this season and scored more however the Pred’s have won 5 more games on the road and that seems to be the biggest stat of all.
As for a key to the Wings winning this series, Mike Babcock believes it’s simple…
“The bottom line is that they have the number one power play in the league so that’s got to be considered in in their mind a weapon for them. We have to take that away both with discipline and great penalty killing.”
Wings and Preds get it going on Wednesday night in the Music City. I got Detroit in 6, a ton of people are taking the Preds. Who you got?