NHL Playoffs 2012: 3 Changes the Red Wings Need to Make Heading into Game 2

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIIApril 12, 2012

NHL Playoffs 2012: 3 Changes the Red Wings Need to Make Heading into Game 2

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    The story from Game 1 of the series between the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators will undoubtedly be the officiating.

    Seventeen whistles were blown against two of the NHL's least penalized teams.

    Yet, through the sea of bad calls and poor judgment, the Red Wings still find themselves down a game to their Central Division rival.

    Falling into an 0-2 hole is not a viable option against a Nashville team that looks determined to finally get over the hurdle that is Detroit.

    With that in mind, let's look at three adjustments the Red Wings must make in order to tie this series at a game apiece.

3. Start the Game Faster

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    In the first period Nashville out-shot Detroit 13-5. 

    The Red Wings did an admirable job killing four different penalties through the first 20 minutes, but this does not excuse the fact that they gave the Predators early momentum.

    On the road in a hostile environment, Detroit must be able to dominate the tone and pace of the game.

    Nashville had two penalties of their own in the first period, but the Red Wings were unable to capitalize and entered the locker room with a zero on the scoreboard.

    This is unacceptable moving forward.

2. Win the Battle of the 3rd and 4th Lines

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    The injury to Darren Helm early in the game was an obvious setback for the Red Wings' lineup.

    Yet even in the short time he skated, the Red Wings' third and fourth lines were dominated by the Predators.

    Grinder Gabriel Bourque scored two goals and Paul Gaustad had Nashville's only other tally.

    The Red Wings kept the Predators' top units in check and found goals of their own from Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom.

    If Detroit shuts down the Predators' grind lines then they give themselves a much better chance to win hockey games.

1. Be Cautious

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    Whether it was excitement over playoff hockey or the looming presence of commissioner Gary Bettman, the officials in Game 1 got whistle happy rather quickly.

    Detroit must be prepared for a similar type of officiating the next time they step on the ice.

    Complaining about the poor job the referees may have done in Game 1 is not going to reverse the current state of the series.

    Nashville is up 1-0 and the Red Wings must be able to adjust quickly and diligently to whatever style of refereeing the officials choose to display on Friday.