This is going to be a fun series.
Whenever division rivals get together, the intensity of a playoff series ratchets up because that "feeling-out" process in the first period doesn't happen. Unlike a blind date, this is 2 former lovers re-connecting, and they know what the other one likes. Sure, they might have developed a few new tastes and turn-ons, but the groundwork has already been laid.
It's just very unfortunate that the referees had to go and ruin a perfectly entertaining hockey game. A steady parade of players to the penalty box after weak calls on both teams broke up the flow of what should have been a fun game to watch. Infractions that were blatant were missed while slight little picks were called.
When the 2 teams were allowed to actually, you know, play hockey, we were treated to some quality goaltending from both goalies and a tight-checking defensive game that we were expecting. A couple of bad bounces for the Wings found their way into the net and they were unable to overcome some luck and Pekka Rinne at the other end. As a result, despite a solid if unspectacular effort, the Wings find themselves down 1-0 after Game 1.
I'm not surprised at the result, and I am pleased with the Wings' play. Follow the jump for bullets.
- You know what, Brad Stuart? If you don't want to be a Red Wing anymore, then just pack your bags and head on out to California now. We don't need you messing things up for Detroit.
- If this is the playoffs, then I want to see end-to-end action, big hits, and players putting it all on the line to win the ultimate prize. What I don't want are a bunch of ticky-tack calls that would make me mad if it were a preseason game. If this game was about setting the tone, then get ready for a shit-ton of power plays as the refs try to dispel the notion that anything goes in the playoffs.
- Killing that 5-on-3 brought back shades of 2009 in the Finals. The PK was fantastic all night, making the league's #1 power play look extremely ordinary throughout the game. That's a major takeaway from tonight.
- How messed up is it that the one area where the Predators had the biggest advantage (special teams) is the one the Wings were better at and still lost the game?
- Despite 2 fluke goals, Jimmy Howard was stupendous tonight, especially on the penalty kill. He made a save on one of the Kostitsyn brothers midway through the third to keep the score 2-1. I said before the series that I think Howard takes a huge step forward in this series. He is your Player of the Game tonight.
- I'll say what we're all thinking: the Predators got every single bounce tonight. The first 2 goals were fluke tip-ins. The Wings had 2 close chances that either didn't roll the right way or hit a player in front of the net.
- Shea Weber should be suspended for the crap he pulled on Henrik Zetterberg. Here's the video:
That's just plain bush-league. You don't like getting hit from behind, Shea? Fine. But don't take the guy's head and slam it into the boards. Since I have absolutely zero faith in the Brendan Shanahan to do anything about this, I'll just piss and moan when it's announced he will get to play. However, Weber can now die of gonorrhea and burn in hell.
- Some bad news to pass along as it sounds like Darren Helm may be done for the series and probably the playoffs. Per a tweet from Helene St James, Helm went to hospital for surgery on his forearm. It's possible some tendons were damaged, but surgery means a very long time out of the playoffs.