Posted on April 20, 2008 09:25 PM | Permalink
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Was it Chris Osgood taking over in goal that sparked Detroit or was it simply the Red Wings stepping their performance up over the last two games?
In either case, the Wings throttled the Nashville Predators yet again on Sunday, capturing a 3-0 win that sent top-seeded Detroit on to the second round of the playoffs with a 4-2 series victory.
Osgood took over for Dominik Hasek in the second period of Game 4, with the Predators leading 3-1. He didn’t allow a goal for the remainder of that contest, surrendered just one in a winning performance last Friday and shut the Predators out on Sunday.
"We’ve said it all along that we are very fortunate to have two goalies who have won Stanley Cups,’’ Red Wings centre Kris Draper said. "Ozzie comes in and plays unbelievable for us. He just shows unbelievable composure.’’
Then again, the Wings didn’t allow the Predators much in the way of scoring opportunities over the past two games, holding Nashville to just 21 shots on Friday and 20 on Sunday.
"Give Detroit a lot of credit,’’ Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "They really clamped down defensively. We only scored one goal the last two games, so it’s pretty tough to win.’’
WHAT A BOUNCE:
It was either an incredibly lucky or unlucky bounce, depending on which team you were cheering for on Sunday.
With 6:23 left in the second period and the score tied 0-0, Detroit found itself killing off a Chris Chelios penalty. Defenceman Nick Lidstrom lobbed a shot from just outside the Detroit blue-line - about 112 feet away - and saw it land well in front of Dan Ellis before taking a giant hop over the goalie’s shoulder and winding up in the net.
"They’ve got veteran defencemen and they understand there’s bad ice out there,’’ Ellis said. "They purposely try to shoot the puck so that it drops.
"He shot the puck with a little spin on it, I went down and it just took a wicked bounce to the top corner. It’s a situation you really can’t do much about. I though I was close enough to be able to stop it from going anywhere, but it took quite the turn.’’
Lidstrom and his teammates were overjoyed at the change in momentum.
"I took a little off the shot and I just tried to float one in there,’’ Lidstrom said. "I wanted to see if it would land in front of him and create something. I was happy to see the puck go in, especially when we were short-handed.’’
Predators centre Jason Arnott missed his second straight game on Sunday, after he was officially diagnosed with a concussion on Saturday.
The concussion question had been raised earlier in the week, as Arnott had taken a hard celebratory hit from teammate Alexander Radulov after scoring the game-winning goal in Game 3.
Arnott had played in Game 4, but became nauseous after the morning skate of Game 5.
Preds general manager David Poile said he was uncertain when the concussion took place. He said the Radulov hit may have caused it, but also pointed out that Arnott took a puck to the helmet in Game 4.
On the other hand, centre Scott Nichol returned far earlier than expected after suffering a broken thumb in Game 1.