2011-12 SEASON SERIES VS. DETROIT AT A GLANCE
Nashville and Detroit will continue their Central Division rivalry tonight, as their 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinal series begins at Bridgestone Arena. It is the third time the Predators have held home advantage in franchise history.
The Preds and Wings split their regular season series 3-3-0. Here is how the six-game regular season series played out:
NOV. 26, 2011 (NSH 1, DET 4) – Valtteri Filppula scored twice and dished out an assist as the Red Wings skated to a 4-1 win. Pekka Rinne made 33 saves in net, while Jack Hillen scored his first goal as a member of the Preds and Roman Josi made his NHL debut.
DEC. 15, 2011 (NSH 4, DET 3) – Shea Weber scored twice in the third period as the Predators rallied from a two-goal deficit to edge the Wings, 4-3. Weber tied the game with a power-play goal at the 15:36 mark of the third and then put the Preds ahead with 1:36 remaining in regulation. Rinne made 37 saves, including 13 in the third period, to pick up the win.
DEC. 26, 2011 (NSH 1, DET 4) – Jimmy Howard stopped 31 of 32 shots to help the Red Wings to a 4-1 win over the Predators, despite the Preds out shooting the Wings 32-22. Filppula opened the scoring in the middle of the first period. Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary extended the lead with goals 13 seconds apart midway through the second period. Ryan Ellis made his NHL debut in the game, filling in for an injured Weber.
FEB. 17, 2012 (NSH 1, DET 2) – Datsyuk scored with five seconds left to give the Red Wings' their 22nd consecutive home victory, 2-1. Johan Franzen opened the scoring in the first period and Nick Spaling tied the game with 5:02 remaining in the second period, before Datsyuk netted the winner in the waning seconds of regulation.
MARCH 10, 2012 (NSH 3, DET 2) – Sergei Kostitsyn found his brother Andrei twice on the power play, as the Predators edged the Red Wings 3-2 at Bridgestone Arena. Patric Hornqvist opened the scoring 7:30 into the game, but the Wings answered back on the game's next shift. The Kostitsyn brothers connected on their first goal late in the first period and, after a scoreless second period, they extended the Nashville lead to 3-1 early in the third. Detroit cut the final margin to one with 5:25 left in regulation.
MARCH 30, 2012 (NSH 4, DET 1) – With the Predators holding a 1-0 lead late in the second, Rinne made perhaps the save of the season as he robbed on Henrik Zetterberg to preserve the Preds lead. Nashville quickly countered with a Francis Bouillon goal just minutes later to push the margin to 2-0. The Preds added two more in the third period to skate away with the franchise’s 500th win.
QUICK HITS VS. DETROIT
• Pekka Rinne is 11-5-3 in 19 games versus Detroit for his career, with all of those games coming in the past four seasons. No other NHL goaltender has more than eight wins against the Red Wings over the same span.
• David Legwand (1g-4a) and Jordin Tootoo (1g-4a) led all Preds with five points each against the Wings this season. Legwand leads all Predators with 40 career points (15g-25a) against Detroit.
• Andrei Kostitsyn posted four points (2g-2a) in three games against Detroit this season.
• Sergei Kostitsyn has 10 points (5g-5a) in his last 12 games against the Wings
• Ryan Suter has seven points (1g-6a) in his last 10 games against Detroit.
FACING A FAMILIAR FOE
This year’s series marks the third time the Predators and Red Wings have faced off in the postseason dating back to the 2004 Western Conference Quarterfinals. The Predators have played more postseason games against Detroit (12) than any other team in their seven trips to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Of the 12 playoff games all-time between these two Central Division rivals, nine have been determined by two goals or fewer.
The Predators played their first playoff series in franchise history against the Red Wings in the 2004 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Its first ever playoff game came on April 7, 2004 at Detroit – a 3-1 loss. Adam Hall scored the first postseason goal in Predators’ history just 16 seconds into the opening frame of Game One vs. Detroit. The Predators would fall behind 2-0, after losing 2-1 in Game Two. The Predators rebounded on home ice, winning both games in the Music City by a combined score of 6-1. Tomas Vokoun registered Nashville’s first playoff win in Game Three on April 11, 2004 at Bridgestone Arena. He followed the first postseason victory with the club’s first postseason shutout in Game Four – a 3-0 Predators’ victory. Detroit went on to win the next two games, taking the WCQ series 4-2.
Nashville and Detroit would meet again in the 2008 Western Conference Quarterfinals. The series began with Detroit taking both games in Motown. The Predators would once again even the series on home ice, as they won the next two games at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators netted five goals in Game Three of the series, tying the franchise-high for a playoff game – it was also the last time Nashville has posted more than four goals in a postseason game. In Game Five, Nashville forced overtime for just the second time in the club’s postseason history, but fell to Detroit, 2-1, in the extra session. The series returned to Nashville for the sixth and final game, as the Predators were shutout for just the third time – and second in a series deciding game – in their postseason history to that point.
Three players remain on Nashville’s roster from the 2004 WCQ series vs. Detroit – Erat, Legwand and Tootoo. Eight players who played against Detroit in the 2008 WCQ remain – Erat, Legwand, Radulov, Suter, Tootoo and Weber.
PLAYOFF QUICK HITS
• Nashville is 3-3 all-time in Western Conference Quarterfinal Game Ones, including wins in back-to-back WCQ Game Ones (2010 at Chicago and 2011 at Anaheim).
• The Preds won their first ever playoff series against Anaheim (4-2) in the Western Conference Quarterfinals last season.
• Nashville is returning 15 players from last season’s playoff team – Erat, Fisher, Halischuk, Hornqvist, Klein, Sergei Kostitsyn, Legwand, Lindback, Rinne, Spaling, Suter, Tootoo, Weber and Wilson. Francis Bouillon was injured and did not play during the 2010-11 playoffs.
• Five players – Bourque, Ellis, Hillen, Josi and Smith – are poised to make their Stanley Cup Playoff debuts this postseason.
• Martin Erat is tied with Legwand for the most career postseason assists (12) in club history. He ranks second to David Legwand in points (19), goals (7) and games played (36).
• Mike Fisher led all Predators with six points (3g-3a) against the Ducks last year. He finished the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs with seven points (3g-4a). Fisher leads all Predators with 35 career postseason points (17g-18a).
• Hal Gill enters the 2012 playoffs ranked sixth among active defensemen in postseason games played. He has skated in 105 career playoff games, making him the most experienced Predator in the postseason. Sixty-nine of those games have come in the past four seasons.
• Patric Hornqvist set franchise records for shots in a playoff season (43) and in a playoff series (29) during the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. Anaheim.
• Legwand posted nine points (6g-3a) during the playoffs last season, including a four-game points streak (4g-1a) to close out Nashville’s WCS series with Vancouver. Legwand is the Predators’ franchise leader in every postseason offensive category; he has posted 22 points (10g-12a) in 37 postseason games with Nashville.
• Pekka Rinne is the franchise’s all-time leader in nearly every postseason goaltending category including games played and wins. He posted a franchise-record for goals-against average in a series (1.94) along with a .932 save percentage in the Western Conference Semifinals vs. Vancouver.
• Ryan Suter (29gp) and Weber (29gp) have each taken the ice in every Predators’ playoff game over the last three seasons – they are the only players to do so.