Morning Skate: Take Control

March 30, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg (40) is defended by Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter (20) in the second period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

There's an old saying that a playoff series doesn't begin until someone wins on the road.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we finally have a series on our hands.

Uncle Mike said if he had the choice to start a playoff series on the road, he would. You win one of the first two on the road and all the pressure is put on the higher seed. The Red Wings traveled south to Nashville and they did just that. A split in the Music City means the Motor City is the place where home ice resides. If the Wings can win every game at the Joe from here on out, well, this sucker will be over in six games.

With all that said, the bottom line is that you can't win in six unless you win Game 3 first. That's the opportunity placed in front of Detroit today. An opportunity exert their dominance and take control of this series. I'll be the first to say that I like where this team is at right now. At least where they're at mentally as a group. Bertuzzi's fight with Shea Weber said a lot to me. It wasn't about getting revenge. It wasn't about bashing Weber's face in. It was about having your brother's back. I've got your back and you've got mine. We're in this together. Bert didn't even come close to winning that fight, but it didn't matter. It was bigger than that. He was willing to put his reputation on the line because it was the right thing to do. Guys in that dressing room respect him more for that. They're closer group now and they're better for it.

It doesn't mean the rest of this series is going to be easy. Nashville is still a good team and they're not going down with a fight. It's only 1-1 and anything can happen. The Wings will have to work their asses off and grind out another victory. Win every battle. Win every shift. Win the game.

Make the decision and go like hell.

*

Puck drop is just after 12:00p ET on NBC

The Expected Lineup

*

Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Todd Bertuzzi

Valtteri Filppula -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Jiri Hudler

Gustav Nyquist -- Justin Abdelkader -- Danny Cleary

Drew Miller -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom

*

Nicklas Lidstrom -- Jonathan Ericsson

Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart

Kyle Quincey -- Ian White

*

Jimmy Howard (starting)

Ty Conklin

Scratches: Jan Mursak, Jakub Kindl and Riley Sheahan

Injuries: Patrick Eaves (concussion), Joey MacDonald (back) and Darren Helm (sliced up arm)

PREDATORS 1st ROUND MATCHUP RED WINGS
1 Wins 1
2.50 Goals Per Game 2.50
0-12 Power Play 2-10
8-10 Penalty Kill 12-12
Gabriel Bourque (2 goals) Goal Leader 5 tied with 1 goal
3 tied with 2 points Points Leader Tomas Holmstrom (2 points)

  • The Red Wings are 9-5 all-time against the Nashville Predators in the playoffs.
  • From the Red Wings Playoff Game Day blog, "The Red Wings are 6-8 all-time in playoff series where they’ve split the first two games on the road, though they have won four of their last six. Detroit is also 8-2 over the last 10 series where they have lost Game 1, but won Game 2."

Prediction: Wings win 4-2. Johan Franzen is your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.

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