Morning Skate: Must Win

Show us the way, Nick (Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE).

It's not a game seven, but just about everything is on the line tonight at the Joe.

Tonight is a must win for the Red Wings. There isn't much else to it. If this team goes down 3-1 to the Predators, they won't make it out of the first round. Detroit needs to play desperate tonight. Throw in all the cliches too. They need to start on time. They need to play a full 60 minutes. They need to stay out of the box. All of that.

All season long we've been wondering which Red Wings team will show up. If there is anything we know for sure about this Red Wings team this season is that they're consistently inconsistent. They'll win big or they'll fall asleep early, get behind and charge back for a comeback win or fall just short. Well, tonight this team needs one of those big wins and they need to be led by the man that wears the 'C' on his chest. The man who quietly leads this team by example needs to do just that on the ice tonight. We all want Filppula and Franzen and Hudler to elevate their game and show up on the stat sheet, but the most important name we need to see put up some numbers is Nick Lidstrom. He has yet to record a point is this series and his ability to get the puck in the back of the net will open the floodgates for the rest of the offense.

The bottom line is the Red Wings need to win this game or else the season will be over come this time next week.

*

Puck drop is just after 7:30p ET on Fox Sports Detroit for the locals and NBC Sports Network for the rest of us.

The Expected Lineup

*

Valtteri Filppula -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Jiri Hudler

Johan Franzen -- Pavel Datsyuk -- Danny Cleary

Gustav Nyquist -- Justin Abdelkader -- Todd Bertuzzi

Drew Miller -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom

*

Nicklas Lidstrom -- Ian White

Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart

Kyle Quincey -- Jonathan Ericsson

*

Jimmy Howard (starting)

Ty Conklin

Scratches: Jan Mursak and Jakub Kindl

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

Black Aces: Joakim Andersson, Louis-Marc Aubry, Fabian Brunnstrom, Francis Pare, Tomas Tatar, Travis Ehrhardt, Garnet Exelby, Doug Janik, Brian Lashoff, Brendan Smith and Thomas McCollum

PREDATORS

1st ROUND MATCH UP

RED WINGS

2

Wins

1

2.67

Goals Per Game

2.33

1-16

Power Play

3-14

11-14

Penalty Kill

15-16

2 tied with 2 goals

Goal Leader

Henrik Zetterberg (2 goals)

7 tied with 2 points

Points Leader

Pavel Datsyuk (3 points)

  • The Red Wings are 9-6 all-time against the Predators in the playoffs.
  • From the Red Wings playoff game day blog, "The Red Wings last 10 playoff losses have all been by one goal. This streak dates back to a 5-2 loss on April 25, 2010 to the Phoenix Coyotes."
  • Jimmy Howard has a 2.71 GAA and .892 SV%. He has in no way been bad or the reason the Wings have lost two of the first three games, but he needs to be better tonight. He needs to be the James Freakin' Tiberius Howard III tonight. Along with Lidstrom, he needs to be the guy to put the team on his back and say "I got this."

Prediction: I don't really know. I really want to believe that this team is pissed off from their poor start in game 3 that cost them home ice and a series lead. I'd like to think they'll come out guns blazing and put on a show for us. I'll say Wings win 4-1 and Nicklas Lidstrom is your player of the game. Don't let me down, Red Wings.

Let's Go Red Wings.

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