Teams often go through periods where they don’t necessarily look like themselves throughout the course of an 82-game National Hockey League season. Rarely does this happen in the postseason.
The Nashville Predators strolled into Joe Louis Arena like they owned the place, and walked out with a commanding 3-1 series lead. The Predators obviously do not own JLA, but I’m not convinced that Pekka Renne doesn’t have at least minority ownership.
Rinne stood on his head again for the Preds, stopping 40 of the 41 shots, and made many of them look entirely too easy. The Red Wings have outshot Nashville in each of their three losses so far in this series. Nashville, on the other hand, beat Jimmy Howard thrice (well actually frice (quadrice?), but only three counted) on only 17 shots. The Preds have been the model of efficiency, while the Red Wings’ efficiency has rivaled that of a Kim Kardashian tweet (just pick one). Detroit had as many shots in the second period as Nashville did throughout the entire game, and lost by two goals.
Beyond the results, beyond the goals, this team just doesn’t look the Detroit Red Wings. The winged wheel still looks great, unrivaled in the NHL, but the performance beg to differ. This team looks hesitant, and even lost at times. Kevin Klein had literally the ENTIRE net to aim at for his game winner, as three defensemen and goaltender Jimmy Howard all went after the puck-carrier as he went to the corner. The Detroit Red Wings don’t play defense like that.
The Red Wings need to find themselves before Game 5 on Friday night, or they will be eliminated in the first round for the first time since 2006.