Offensive Spark Needed for Game 4

The Red Wings are down 2-1 in their series with Nashville and are struggling to regain the high-powered offense that put them atop the league in February. A pivotal Game 4 begins at 7:30 tonight at Joe Louis Arena. Nashville is looking to put a 3-1 stranglehold on the Wings after grinding out a 3-2 win Sunday afternoon. 

The Red Wings need to solve Pekka Rinne who stonewalled Detroit in the 3rd period of Game 3, allowing one goal in a period the Red Wings outshot the Predators 19-4. Detroit almost doubled Nashville in shots (43-22) but only stars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were able to find the net. Rinne (2.34 GAA, .928 SV%) is outplaying Jimmy Howard (2.71 GAA, .892 SV%).

The Red Wings are in dire need of secondary scoring from Val Filppula, Jiri Hudler, Todd Bertuzzi, Johan Franzen and Daniel Cleary who have combined for a meager 1 goal and 1 assist so far. The Red Wings defensive play which was great for most of the season has left Howard out to dry on several occassions. Brad Stuart has made some glaring mistakes and is a series-worst -4.

Mike Babcock shifted around the second, third and fourth lines in practice yesterday, pushing Danny Cleary up to the Datsyuk-Franzen line, keeping Todd Bertuzzi on the 3rd line with Drew Miller and Justin Abdelkader and sending Gustav Nyquist down to the fourth line with Cory Emmerton and Tomas Holmstrom. He also reunited the defensive duos of Nick Lidstrom-Ian White and Brad Stuart-Niklas Kronwall.

 

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A.K. Bennett, @MrAdrianKeith