Monthly Archives: April 2011

Draper, Modano out for Game 1

Wings coach Mike Babcock told reporters after the morning skate in San Jose that Kris Draper and Mike Modano will be the two healthy forwards scratched for Game 1 tonight.

He also said he would start the game with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on the same line.

“We’ll see what happens,” Babcock told mlive.com’s Ansar Khan. “Just like who’s playing good and who’s not playing good. We start with a plan and that plan’s usually good until the first or second shift and then you’re ready to adjust. Whoever is playing the best gets on the ice. If it’s working good you keep them together, if it’s not working good, keep them apart.”

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Live chat from Game 1

Live Red Wings chat from Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series with San Jose.

Go to macombdaily.com Friday to log in. Chat will start at 9:45 p.m.

Zetterberg and Datsyuk reunited

Wings coach Mike Babcock would not say after practice Thursday what two healthy forwards were going to sit out Game 1, or what his lines were going to look like.

However, Henrik Zetterberg was reunited with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom.

“I decided they’re practicing together (Thursday),” Babcock said. “They’re going to warm up together (tonight).

“I’m not going to tell you (who’s sitting),” Babcock added. “I think the decision for this kind of stuff is way harder in the regular season because in the regular season it’s more individual. Right now it doesn’t matter what your name is. It’s not about me, them. It’s just about playing. So whatever helps us win that’s who we’re going to play.”

3 reasons why Wings advance; 3 reasons why Wings won’t advance

It’s one down and three more rounds to go for the third-seeded Detroit Red Wings in their quest for a 12th Stanley Cup.

Round 2 starts tonight in the city where their season ended last season: San Jose.

The Sharks took out the Wings in five games last year.

Here are three reasons why the Wings will advance to the next round and three reasons they won’t.

Three reasons why Wings move on

1. Pavel Datsyuk: Phoenix defenseman Keith Yandle said this about Datsyuk after Game 2 of their opening round series: “The guy’s disgusting. He’s fun to watch, but not fun to play against.”

Datsyuk was the Wings’ best player in Round 1. He had two goals and four assists in four games.

And with all their forwards back healthy, Datsyuk could have an even bigger impact in this round.

2. Still that Franzen factor: Johan Franzen had two goals and an assist in the three games he played against Phoenix. That gives him 62 points in 54 games during the past four springs. He has 37 goals and 35 assists in 78 career playoff games.

3. A well rested team: That equals a fully healthy team.

The Wings will have Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen in the lineup to begin the series. Zetterberg, who led the team in scoring during the regular season, missed the entire first round with a sprained left knee. Franzen missed Game 4 of the series with Phoenix with a hurt left ankle.

When these teams met last year, Detroit had one day off before opening the next round in San Jose.

Three reasons why Wings don’t move on

1. Penalty woes: The Wings’ penalty kill struggled mightily against a Coyotes team that struggled all season with the man advantage. After killing off all six of Phoenix’s power plays in Game 1, the Coyotes scored six times on their next 12 chances.

And Detroit can’t give up any 5-on-3 opportunities. Phoenix had three minutes and 21 seconds of two-man advantage time.

2. Unfinished business: Prior to this year, San Jose has averaged close to 50 wins during the regular season over the last six seasons. But come playoff time, the Sharks have yet to find the right formula to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

In the last six seasons, San Jose has lost in the conference finals twice, semifinals three times and quarterfinals once.

And their top players aren’t getting any younger.

3. A well rested team: When the Wings open the next round they will have had eight days off between games. That’s their longest playoff break since 1999, when they had nine days between games following their first-round sweep of Anaheim. They lost to Colorado in the next round, winning the first two games before losing four in a row.

PREDICTION: Wings win in 6.

Round 2 predictions

A breakdown of each second-round NHL playoff series and predictions:

Western Conference

Vancouver Canucks (1) vs. Nashville Predators (5)

Neither of the Vezina Trophy-nominated netminders were all that impressive in Round 1.

Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo didn’t even start Game 6 after being lit up for 16 goals from Games 2-5. He did recover and gave up one in the finale.

Nashville’s Pekka Rinne allowed 19 goals in six games and had an abysmal .876 save percentage.

The Predators are in the second round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

The Canucks’ seven-game series with Chicago may have taken a lot out of them.

Pick: Nashville in 7.

San Jose Sharks (2) vs. Detroit Red Wings (3)

On no rest from Round 1, Detroit fell to San Jose in five games a year ago. All four of the Wings’ losses were by one goal.

This year, Detroit is well rested after a sweep of Phoenix.

The Sharks struggled to do away with Los Angeles in the first round, with three of their wins coming in overtime.

If the Wings can stay out of the penalty box, it’s their series to take.

Pick: Detroit in 6.

Eastern Conference

Washington Capitals (1) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (5)

Washington seemed to have learned from its previous lengthy playoff series by disposing of the New York Rangers in five games. The Capitals have played in four straight seven-game series, going 1-3.

Dwayne Roloson was stellar for Tampa Bay in the opening round as the Lightning came back from a 3-1 deficit, shutting Pittsburgh out in Game 7.

Tampa Bay’s power play has scored eight goals, while Washington has allowed just one power play goal.

Pick: Washington in 5.

Philadelphia Flyers (2) vs. Boston Bruins (3)

The Flyers made history in last year’s postseason meeting between these two teams, becoming just the third team to come back from a 3-0 deficit to advance. Philadelphia also trailed 3-0 in Game 7.

Philadelphia seems to have settled on a starting goalie, Brian Boucher, after three of them got starts on Round 1.

Vezina Trophy nominee Tim Thomas of the Bruins will be tested and tested often.

Pick: Philadelphia in 7.

Zetterberg not a finalist for Hart Trophy

DETROIT — The NHL announced the three finalists for the Hart Trophy, which is given to the player most valuable to his team and Henrik Zetterberg did not make the final cut.

The three finalists are Anaheim’s Corey Perry, Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin and Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis.

Here are the Top 5 players I voted for:

1. Corey Perry
2. Daniel Sedin
3. Henrik Zetterberg
4. Martin St. Louis
5. Tim Thomas

Here is the press release from the league.

Corey Perry, Anaheim Ducks

Perry won the Maurice Richard Trophy as NHL goal-scoring leader with a late surge of 19 goals in his final 16 games that raised his season total to 50 and helped launch the Ducks from 11th place in the Western Conference to a season-ending fourth. The first-time Hart Trophy finalist shared the League lead in game-winning goals with Washington’s Alex Ovechkin (11), tied for fifth place in power-play goals (14), shared fifth in shorthanded tallies (four) and led all players with 21 third-period goals. Twenty-five of his goals tied the score or put the Ducks ahead.

Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

Sedin is in quest of an unprecedented family ‘double’ — becoming half of the first brother tandem to win NHL MVP honors in consecutive years after twin Henrik received the award last season. Daniel already has won silverware that Henrik claimed in 2009-10, the Art Ross Trophy, by tallying a League-leading and career-high 104 points (41 goals, 63 assists) to help the Canucks post the NHL’s best regular-season record (54-19-9). Daniel sparked the League’s top-ranked power play by tallying an NHL-best 18 goals and 42 points with the extra man. He also tied for second place among NHL forwards in plus-minus (+30).

Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay Lightning

St. Louis is a Hart Trophy finalist for the first time since he captured the award in 2004. The 35-year-old wing surged late in the season, tallying points in each of his last nine games and in 15 of his final 17 to finish second in League scoring with 99 points (31 goals, 68 assists). He tied a franchise record for assists in a season and posted the second-highest point total in his 12-year NHL career, helping the Lightning make a 23-point improvement over 2009-10, post the second-best record in franchise history (46-25-11) and earn a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007.

History

The Hart Memorial Trophy was presented by the National Hockey League in 1960 after the original Hart Trophy was retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame. The original Hart Trophy was donated to the NHL in 1924 by Dr. David A. Hart, father of Cecil Hart, former manager-coach of the Montreal Canadiens.

Wings schedule released

DETROIT — According to tsn.ca, here is the schedule for Detroit’s Western Conference semifinal series with San Jose:

Game 1: Friday at San Jose, 10 p.m.

Game 2: Sunday at San Jose, 3 p.m.

Game 3: Wednesday, May 4 at Detroit, 8 p.m.

Game 4: Friday, May 6 at Detroit, 7 p.m.

x-Game 5: Sunday, May 8 at San Jose, 8 p.m.

x-Game 6: Tuesday, May 10 at Detroit, TBD

x-Game 7: Thursday, May 12 at San Jose, TBD