For the first time in the series the team with the most shots in the game actually won tonight as the Predators eliminated the Red Wings in game 5 tonight. The Predators are the first team to move on to the second round of the playoffs and wait to see who they will face out of the Phoenix Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks. It was a back and forth game for the most part tonight as the shots were 25-22 in favor of the Predators. Alexander Radulov finally got a goal in the series, and he couldn’t have picked a better game in which get it as he opened the scoring with just under 4 minutes left off of a Detroit turnover. Jiri Hudler tied the game up with just over 6 minutes left in the second period, the only shot that ended up getting past Pekka Rinne. David Legwand ended the hope for Detroit as he wristed one past Jimmy Howard just 13 seconds into the third period. Detroit just couldn’t get back into the game after that goal despite a good attempt at doing so; however Nashville was able to keep them to the perimeter for most of the period.
Solid Trio for the Predators
If any team in the playoffs has a hope of beating the Nashville Predators they have to be able to find a solution for the star trio of Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber and Ryan Suter. Rinne has been a fortress in net, allowing only 9 goals on 160 shots over five games. Rinne lead the league in wins during the regular season with 43 and was second in overall playtime with 4,169 minutes in net. Both Weber and Suter have been averaging at least 23 minutes per game and sometimes closer to 30 minutes in the previous two games in Detroit. Weber and Suter are easily the best tandem in the NHL on defence and play the minutes almost every game to prove it. They both play the first power play and first penalty kill units and are always matched up against the opposing team’s top line(s).
The Predators will now have a while to rest as they wait for the outcome between Phoenix and Chicago. Chicago is down 3-1 in the series so the Predators may not have very long to wait. Regardless of who they face, I have serious doubts that either team will be able to beat the Predators. Simply put the Predators are getting scoring throughout their lineup and have been pretty solid defensively in their own zone. If they face Chicago they should have home ice advantage again but if they face Phoenix than Phoenix will have the home ice advantage.
1st: David Legwand
2nd: Alexander Radulov
3rd: Pekka Rinne