If they aren’t careful, the Red Wings could be, as Kenny Loggins once crooned, on the highway to the danger zone.
Down 2-1 in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series with Nashville, the Red Wings will look to even the series just after 7:30 p.m. tonight during Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena.
The game can be seen locally on FSN Detroit and CBC and nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
The Red Wings pressed, but couldn’t find the answer Sunday during Game 3, where a lackluster start to the second period put them into a two-goal deficit they never recovered from.
Things need to be different for the Red Wings tonight. They absolutely cannot afford to sleepwalk through any portion of this game. It is going to take a 60-minute effort like we saw in Game 2 for the Red Wings to tie this series. Nashville is too good and too opportunistic for anything less.
Pavel Datsyuk finally showed signs of life Sunday. He’ll need to be good again tonight. Valtteri Filppula is going to have to come out of the woodwork at some point here or Detroit is going to be in deep trouble. He was a critical player last year during the playoffs and stepped up his game during this past regular season but has been missing in action against Nashville, registering just one assist and a minus-2 rating. That has to change.
No lineup changes are expected for the Red Wings, who will start Jimmy Howard in goal. Pekka Rinne will again get the nod for Nashville after stopping 41 shots in Game 3 on Sunday.
Now, let’s get to the Keys to Victory:
- Get on top: The Red Wings have to score first. They have not been good playing from behind in this series and scoring first in Game 2 did wonders for the team. They have not been good playing from behind this series and Nashville’s lockdown defense has a lot to do with that. The Red Wings must play with a lead tonight
- Stop it already: The penalties have to stop. No matter what you think of how the game is being called by the officials, the fact is the Red Wings are taking far too many minor penalties. Adjust and adapt.
- Power up: Nashville is going to take some penalties, as well. Detroit has to capitalize on at least one of those with a power play goal.
We’ll see what happens, but here’s a prediction (and a chance for me to look stupid): Nashville 3, Detroit 1.