The Nashville Predators were able to pull off the win in Game 5 Friday night, 2-1 over the Detroit Red Wings. With that win, the Predators advanced to the Western Conference Semi-Finals (aka the second round).
The win in Game 5 was the first time, in this best-of-7 series, that the winning team didn't score three goals. Both teams were very conservative, which is not in the Red Wings' DNA. The Predators were just able to take advantage of the little chances they had, not only in Game 5, but throughout the whole series. Read more after the jump.
For the first time in the Nashville Predators' organization, the Predators have finally beat the Detroit Red Wings in a playoff series. Even before the series started, the analysts on NHL Network said this is going to be the "passing of the baton" from Detroit to Nashville. Well, it was the passing of the baton without a doubt.
I belive I choose Nashville in 6 games on the Playoff Preview Show on Predators NOW! with other guests. I'm not sure, but my pick was very close. Just off by a game.
The Predators were able to win this series in five games, even without playing their best hockey. That is a very comfortable sign with going forward in the next round. Hal Gill wasn't in the lineup either, a great penalty killer. With ending this series early, it gives Hal Gill some time to rest his foot up and be fully ready to go in Game 1 of the second round.
The power play for Nashville was just awful this series. The first ranked power play in the NHL during the regular season, ended the first round going 3 for 15 with a 9.1 conversion rate. That isn't good enough. Yes the penalty kill of the Detroit Red Wings was good, but the Preds were always looking for that "perfect play." All they need to do is get into an open shooting lane and rip one on net for either a rebound or a goal.
The penalty needs to get a bit better as well. Not a whole lot, but better. The Predators had an 82.6 PK percentage and being ranked 10th in the playoffs. The 'Wings power play is so good anyhow, so credit to Nashville for playing decent against the Detroit power play.
Goaltending doesn't need to change at all. Pekka Rinne was an absolute wall in the crease. Watching him move is just amazing. Rinne is the quickest goalie in the NHL, just right in front of Jonathan Quick.
The attention to detail is very imporant moving on to the next round. The defense has to be smart by clearing the pucks along the boards, not up the middle as we saw in Game 1. With Hal Gill coming back in the lineup, he will add more depth and a stronger D-core.
Barry Trotz had a very good plan as the series was going along to stop the top two lines of the Red Wings. Trotz split up Shea Weber and Ryan Suter in the third period. Weber was paired with Kevin Klein and Suter was paired with Roman Josi. Expect more of that in the coming rounds.
Key Points in the Series
- Todd Bertuzzi was all talk, but no show. Bertuzzi had no points and went -5.
- Nicklas Lidstrom had no points as well and went even in the +/-.
- Hopefully Darren Helm returns next season and the lacerated forearm doesn't affect his play. Great player and would love to have him on the Predators.
- Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg both only had three points in the series. Zetterberg had a -3, while Datsyuk went even.
- The "Webering" thing is now viral.
- Alexander Radulov has an okay series. Radulov added a goal and four assists in the stats column. Although, Rads needs to realize that this isn't the KHL and you can't go one on one or even one on two.
- Gabriel Bourque was the breakout player of the series. Bourque had 3 goals and an assist.
- Kevin Klein had a great series, stepping up with Gill out of the lineup. Klein was making plays, stopping plays and saving pucks. Klein had 2 goals and an assist.
- Jordin Tootoo is angry about the lack of playing time. Suck it up you baby, your team is winning. Play better in the time you have on the ice.
- Francis Bouillon had a +6 and added an assist.
Your Western Conference Semi-Finals Preview will be up sometime this week.
Also, tune into the Nashville Predators 2nd Round Preview Show on Predators NOW! this Saturday, April 28 at 7 PM CT. I have a great amount of guests on the show planned.
Possible Guests Include: Kevin Weekes (Hockey Night in Canada and the NHL Network), Todd Lewis (Hockey Unfiltered), Kristopher Martel (The Predatorial), Dan Bradley (Predlines), Mark Willoughby (The View From 111), Patten Fuqua (PuckScene), and more to come...