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NHL Playoffs 2012: 6 Key Takeaways for the Detroit Red Wings Following Game 3

Isaac SmithAnalyst ISeptember 23, 2016

NHL Playoffs 2012: 6 Key Takeaways for the Detroit Red Wings Following Game 3

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    The Detroit Red Wings dropped Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series at home to the Nashville Predators by a 3-2 decision on Sunday.

    With the loss, the Red Wings also dropped the home-ice advantage that they had claimed in Nashville with the Game 2 win.

    The Red Wings are now left searching for answers to some of their struggles that they had in Game 3. So without further ado, let's get down to what the Red Wings need to take away from this game going into Game 4 on Tuesday.

1. Less Is More

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    Detroit out-shot Nashville by a 43-22 count in Game 3.

    It didn't really seem to matter when it came down to it. Nashville picked their opportunities, and even though they were limited offensively, they still cashed in on them when it counted.

    Examples include Kevin Klein undressing Brad Stuart and roofing it on Jimmy Howard on a partial breakaway or Sergei Kostitsyn going top shelf on Howard's blocker side with a solid wrist shot on a three-on-one rush in the third period to put the game away.

    Detroit needs to be more meticulous as far as moving the puck around. There were far too many errant passes and shots, and it ultimately cost them the game as they could not get very many high-quality scoring chances despite the high shot number.

2. Hard Work Beats Talent When Talent Refuses to Work Hard

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    Now I have to defend my point here: Detroit did work hard in this game.

    But they took way too long to get going. Detroit gave up a power-play goal in the first period, and they could have given up another goal if not for some good saves by Jimmy Howard.

    Nashville worked harder in front of their own net and were better at getting pucks out of their zone. They took care of the puck in the neutral zone for the most part as well.

    The playoffs are about coming to work and giving 110 percent on every shift; the Red Wings did not look like they were engaged in this game until about midway through the second period.

    Which leads me to my next point...

3. Timing Is Everything

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    Detroit's lack of hard work in multiple areas came back to bite them in this game.

    But it was more the timing of the Red Wings' mistakes that came back to hurt them.

    Johan Franzen's second-period goal being waived off because it didn't cross the goal line before the clock hit 0.00 and Kostitsyn's score with three-and-a-half minutes to go in the third period are just a couple examples of timing not being quite there for Detroit.

    But there are other examples as well.

    Detroit had not allowed a power-play goal all series, but on the first opportunity that Nashville had (just 1:35 into the game), the Predators cashed in on the man advantage.

    A penalty kill there would have left the teams scoreless, and Nashville wouldn't have had the momentum for the bulk of the game.

4. Control Your Anger

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    I'm looking at you, Johan Franzen.

    Franzen took out David Legwand on the bench with a spear-like movement and was called for slashing in the second period.

    Legwand was called for a minor penalty for interference because he had grabbed a hold of Franzen's jersey (while Legwand was on the bench) and prevented Franzen from moving.

    Franzen wasted no time in freeing himself and turning around and spearing Legwand.

    Detroit would go on to score on the four-on-four situation, but that's not the point.

    The point...(see the next slide)

5. Too Many Minor Penalties

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    Detroit has taken far too many penalties over the first three games of this series.

    At five-on-five, Detroit is a far better team than Nashville is as far as top-six forwards go.

    When the Red Wings are shorthanded, these highly-skilled players must sit on the bench and watch others kill penalties.

    It also tires out players like Datsyuk (who played 2:28 on the penalty kill in Game 3), who could be much better used either on the power play or at even strength.

    Nashville's power play has been awful in this series, going just 1-for-16, but the power-play goal they did score in the first period was a big one, and it gave them momentum and a lead that they would never relinquish.

    And finally...

6. Come to Play on Time, Get Going in the First Period

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    The image above is Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk scoring the Red Wings' first goal of the game.

    That goal took over 35 minutes into the contest to get.

    Detroit needs to come to play for game time, and they need to get going in the first period. There's no excuse for Detroit taking their time and "mamby-pambying" around for the entirety of the first period and letting their opposition get a lead.

    The Red Wings can ill afford any more slow starts in this series, as they already face a 2-1 deficit in the series itself.

    For them to win Game 4 in Detroit, they'll need a first-period goal or the first goal.


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