The Detroit Red Wings were having a great season. They had the most home ice wins in a single season, Jimmy Howard was proving that he is one of the best goalies in the league, they were competing for the Western Conference title and Tomas Holmstrom played his 1,000th NHL game. Then, Detroit was plagued with injuries.
They dropped in the standings and now have to face the Nashville Predators without home ice advantage. It seems time and time again that Detroit fans ask themselves if the Wings are too old of a team?
There is hope because the Wings roster has seen some major changes since last year.
There is youth on the team, but they just are not putting up the numbers.
Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are the point leaders for the Wings, but will it be enough? The Wings are healthy going into the playoffs, which is a plus considering their season. All of their major scorers were injured this season and to add to that, goaltender Jimmy Howard was injured.
Holmstrom is not putting up goals like he used to. Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler are coming out strong, but overall, the goal scorers are not too many. The Wings have great support, but only four players have scored more then 20 goals. That means the goals scored could almost be put on one line.
In years past, it is the experienced players who made the difference. Look at Detroit in 2002.
The main focus that Detroit needs to address is defence. Detroit knows their penalty kill is not going well. With the return of Jonathan Ericsson, there was a slight improvement.
Another concern is with the Wings is their away record. It is terrible. It is one of the worst in years. In order for Detroit to win the series, they will at least have to win one on the road.
The series will most likely be relying on goaltender Jimmy Howard. There is not many strengths that the Wings going in the series other then Howard. Sure Nicklas Lidstrom plays better in his 40's then most 20 year old's, but his numbers are not like they used to be. He is still valuable and will be a major factor of the series.
Nashville has been on the radar for Detroit for many years and this season, it shows that Nashville is now a threat in the West.
Nashville is coming in the playoffs ahead of Detroit in the standings and are looking strong. They are playing with confidence. Their home record may not be as good as the Wings but it is their away record that counts. This also is an important series regarding the future of captain Shea Weber. If Nashville beats Detroit, he may stay with the Predators.
The Wings and Nashville were evenly matched during the regular season.
Prediction: Nashville in 6