From Ansar Khan at MLive speaking to the Red Wings in preparation for tonight's game, he reports no planned lineup changes, but a definite approach change as far as it pertains to the shots they're putting on net:
The Red Wings noted that Rinne seems to catch everything. So they will try to shoot more on his blocker side, though that might be easier said than done in the heat of the game.
"He does catch everything, even if it's on the ice,'' Cleary said. "It's hard, the game happens so fast, you put a shot on net. … We're trying to get away from his glove. … He catches everything. Force him to kick out a rebound instead of gloving it. He's a nice goalie.''
That's very nice of Cleary to call Pekka Rinne "nice", wasn't it? What a friendly guy.
Meanwhile, Helene St. James of the Freep has a couple of tidbits from the other side:
"We've got to be ready, and we've got to be desperate," Nashville captain Shea Weber said. "I don't think we were quite desperate enough last game, and we just found a way to win the game. We've got to come with our best game if we want to win. We're know they're not going to just lay down. They're going to come out with their best effort."
Rinne said he expects the Wings "to keep crashing the net. They always have people in front of the crease. That's their game. They shoot the puck, and they want to get to those rebounds and get some deflections"
Personally, I've spent the last two days convincing myself that the Wings should be going with seven defensemen tonight to increase their opportunities from the blue line, protect a couple of specialists, and shorten their own bench at forward a bit to take away what is shaping up to be a pretty severe depth advantage for the Predators facing a Red Wings team without their two best bottom-six forwards in Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves.
Brad Stuart has been on the ice for 8 of Nashville's 11 goals (7 of their 9 even-strength tallies). However, he's also been a very big part of Detroit's 17-for-19 penalty kill performance, logging over five minutes of ice time while shorthanded and being on the ice for only one PPGA (David Legwand's backbreaking goal with 39 seconds to go in Game 4 as the Wings were desperately trying to clear the zone to get up ice in an attempt to tie that game late... a goal that did not feature a Brad Stuart mistake).
I feel as though allowing Stuart to play on the PK while spreading his even-strength minutes out among six other defenseman (including young phenom Brendan Smith) would allow Detroit to shelter this apparent weakness from this series. I also think that taking out Cory Emmerton and his 4:25 of ice time per game will create more opportunities for the Wings to double-shift their top centers Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg (perhaps Valtteri Filppula even). This could go a long way towards mitigating the lower line disadvantage and make defensive matchups more difficult for the home team.
However, these are just the mad ramblings of a blogger. We already know this isn't going to happen, so the best we can hope for is that the Red Wings focus and execute for a full game the way we know they can. It's been said numerous times all season long, but it's never been more poignant than it is now: the Red Wings cannot afford to give anything less than their all tonight.