Shea Weber Hit Will Only Fuel Detroit Red Wings to Win Game 2

Matt HutterAnalyst IApril 12, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 11:  Shea Weber #6 of the Nashville Predators slides to block a shooting lane in front of Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings in Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bridgestone Arena on April 11, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

To be honest, Game 1 was better than I thought it would be.

Don't get me wrong—the officiating was deplorable. The referees seemed more concerned with showing NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who was in attendance, just how much better they are at blowing whistles than they were with making honest calls.

That being said, but for the fact that they lost, I surmised the Red Wings to be the better team in Game 1.

They miraculously thwarted six power-play attempts (including a lengthy 5-on-3) by the Predators, who entered the postseason as the best team in the league when up by a man.

What's more, the Wings managed to convert on two of their own power-play opportunities despite finishing 22nd in the NHL this season.

In the end, two fortuitous deflections behind Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard made the difference for a Nashville team that is certainly capable of winning without luck, but needed just that to take Game 1 of this series.

Speaking of luck, it stands to reason that luck, and luck alone, is what will keep Shea Weber on the roster in Game 2.

After twice deliberately slamming Henrik Zetterberg's head into the glass at the end of the game, NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan could have his first controversial ruling of the 2012 playoffs on his hands.

Weber was given a roughing penalty at 20:00 during the third period, providing no real punishment to him or his team.

However, that call could prove to be significant, because whether or not a penalty was called—on any given play that is under review—does play a factor in the decision to apply any supplemental discipline.

Whether Weber is suspended or not, I think his actions alone are going to backfire on the Predators.

It's true that the Predators are a tough, physical, intimidating team to play against.

However, attempting to assert that kind of dominance over a team as skilled and experienced—not to mention disciplined—as the Red Wings could simply sharpen their focus ahead of Game 2.

Believe me, I'd really like to have a guy like Darren McCarty on the ice for Game 2.

Nevertheless, Detroit doesn't currently have a player of McCarty's ilk to level on-ice justice for cheap shots against their top players.

What the Wings do have is a group of skilled players who will not only withstand a physical game, but who will win in spite of their opponent's attempt to thwart them with such play.

What Weber did has no place in the NHL. Whether or not he's suspended, the Red Wings are not going to forget that fact.

However, unlike in years past, they're not about to start Game 2 with a guy looking to drop the gloves against Weber or another convenient combatant.

Instead, they're going to start Game 2 with the knowledge that they played well enough to win Game 1. What's more, they will have a healthy motivation to show Weber and the rest of his team that cheap head-shots aren't enough to derail their intentions to win Game 2 and three more games after that.

Suspension or not, Shea Weber will regret what he did on Wednesday night.

The Red Wings will make sure of that.

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