Red Wings – Predators Game Five Notes

I want to write a recap of Game Five but I’m still so psyched about the win that I don’t feel like I can put it together.

After Radek Bonk scored to tie the game, I was thinking it was going to be one of those nights. I knew the Red Wings could win – that they had the talent and all that – I just expected it to be a night where Nashville got that one extra bounce.

Instead, Detroit’s strong team defence forced the bounce, a turnover in the neutral zone that Niklas Kronwall used to spring Johan Franzen in all alone on Dan Ellis.

And Franzen, as has been said so many times this season in the forums here, is a beast.

Compare this season to the Red Wings’ 1998 campaign (so much easier to do now with Chris Osgood in goal) and Franzen is playing Tomas Holmstrom‘s role. We’re watching his breakout and he’s just got insane amounts of confidence right now.

Speaking of Osgood… Twenty saves on twenty-one shots is about everything anyone could have asked of him. He was steady, not spectacular, and the team played more confidently in front of him than they do in front of Hasek.

Obviously, the Predators were without David Legwand and Jason Arnott, which makes a big difference. I fully expect them to be back for Game Six though I do wonder what was actually bothering Arnott, since I don’t think the flu would have been enough to keep him from playing in such an important game.

If the Red Wings play Game Six like they did Game Five, the Predators will not return to Detroit when the Wings do.

Helm in for Hartigan in Game Five

Darren Helm will replace Mark Hartigan on the Red Wings’ fourth line in Game Five tonight.

“Really excited and nervous at the same time,” Helm said. “There’s a lot of young guys up, being one of the first guys to jump in definitely means a lot to me, gives me some confidence that they believe in me.”

Mike Babcock had previously said he had no worries about playing Helm or Justin Abdelkader in playoff games, as they’ve been in high-pressure situations before (Helm in the World Junior Championships and Memorial Cup, Abdelkader in the Frozen Four).

I would have gone with Abdelkader but Helm’s not a bad move either.