Stanley Cup Playoffs: Red Wings Drop Game 1, Lose Darren Helm In The Process

By Daniel Gustkey

The Detroit Red Wings found out just how infinitesimally small the margin is between winning and losing in the National Hockey League playoffs.

The Red Wings were beaten by the Nashville Predators 3-2 in the first game of what promises to be a great series in their first round matchup.  Two of the three goals for Nashville came via deflection, including one that was deflected in by Gabriel Bourque when Matthew Halischuk appeared to be simply shooting the puck into the offensive zone.  Despite the hard luck, the Red Wings had their chances that including multiple sprawling saves from Predators’ goaltender Pekka Rinne.  Multiple times the puck was sitting in the crease, yet multiple times the Wings were not able to get their stick to it.

The Red Wings outshot the Predators 37 to 26, and completely dominated play at times.  Detroit completely turned the game around after a lethargic first period, and looked like the better team everywhere except the scoreboard.

Nashville came into this series with the top-ranked power play in the NHL, but Detroit was able to keep the Preds off the score in all six of their power play chances.  The Red Wings must continue their stellar play on the penalty kill in order to win the series.

The biggest loss for Detroit was not the final score, but losing Darren Helm for the remainder of the playoffs.  Helm was playing in his first game back from a knee injury that sidelined him for the last month of the regular season, and played only 8 minutes before having to leave for good.  Helm took a skate to the arm in an awkward sequence with Preds’ forward Alexander Radulov.  The skate cut a ligament in Helm’s arm, and had to be surgically repaired.

The Predators’ win was completely marred by a dirty, uncalled for cheapshot from defenseman Shea Weber.  In the dying seconds of the game, Weber sucked-punched Henrik Zetterberg in the back of the head before grabbing Zetterberg by the head and slamming his head into the glass.  How this offense was not suspension-worthy is beyond me.

The Red Wings will look to even the series on Friday night in Nashville.  The puck drops at 7:30 Eastern.

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