Datsyuk Needs to Step Up
After closely watching both games of the Detroit Red Wings' open round series in Nashville against the Predators, one thing is certain; they need their superstar to show up the rest of the series. That's right, Pavel Datsyuk.
The Red Wings dropped Game One 3-2 and then flipped the score in Game Two to tie the series at one game a piece. When you realize that Pavel Datsyuk did not look good and the Red Wings are still tied with the Predators, it makes you wonder what is wrong or what he's saving for the rest of the series.
Datsyuk has an assist and only five shot son net through both games. He's a -1 as well, but this isn't a statistical thing, it's just what I saw on the ice.
There were plenty of times in the first two games that Pavel was pushed around and knocked down. A couple of plays he made were perhaps a little too cute and in one instance he turned the puck over to Kevin Klein on a cycle. These are small instances, but Datsyuk is the best player on Detroit, and they need him to be the go to guy, because role palyers like Cory Emmerton, Ian White and Tomas Holmstrom can only carry you so far.
Give credit to Nashville; they have palyed Datsyuk beautifully, most times eliminating him from the play. They were obviously told to play the man every time he touched the puck and for the most part it's working. That's what creates space for the other guys on the team, but you know Datsyuk won't be stagnant for too long. Two games is enough, so expect a big game out of him in game three.
You can also speculate that he might be beat up from the regular season, but he was on fire until the end of the year, so it would have been at the beginning of game one. In the playoffs, injuries are never talked about (remember Marian Hossa in 2009?) and it's very possible that Datsyuk has some bumps and bruises. It's also possible he had some off games, which is surprising but it happens in hockey.
Like I said, I expect Pavel to be the same guy we saw all year; oozing confidence, flipping pucks over nets and making defencemen deficate themselves on one on ones. Watch number thirteen in game three.