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The Keys to Game Two

Short and simple, here are your keys to this afternoon's Game Two:

Get the Arnott line away from Datsyuk's. Using Vic Ferrari's magnificent Time On Ice tool, we can see that Arnott spent more than two-thirds of his ice time matched up with the Datsyuk line, with predictably disastrous results. Through changes after the draw and other techniques, Barry Trotz has to get the top Nashville line away from not just Datsyuk & Zetterberg, but the defense duo of Lidstrom & Rafalski if possible. The corollary to this is that the Predators energy line has squared off against the wrong guys from Detroit; having Jordin Tootoo hit a Dallas Drake or Kris Draper isn't going to help; he's got to put the body on more important offensive players in order to disrupt the Red Wings flow.

Losing Scott Nichol to a broken thumb is potentially devastating; besides being an elite penalty killer, Nichol was the top faceoff man in the NHL this year. Jason Arnott in particular has to do a better job here, as he was 5-for-19 on Thursday. Particularly outside the neutral zone, it may be worth having someone else take the draw in Arnott's place if he can't hold his own.

Shea Weber has to recover from a poor Game One; poor decision-making and failed clearing attempts led the first two Detroit goals.

Please, coach Trotz, consider finding a spot for Ville Koistinen; he'd be a shot in the arm for that awful power play.

Overall, the team needs to keep its collective head up; they had every chance to win Game One, and with a win today, they still neutralize the Red Wings' home-ice advantage. Forget the question as to whether or not the Zetterberg goal should have been called offsides; that's over and done with. Focus instead on playing a strong physical game and let the chips fall where they may.

For the Detroit perspective heading into today's game, check out Abel to Yzerman and On The Wings.

Oh, and just hope your TV doesn't meet the same fate as Joe Pelletier's did last night; talk about lousy timing...

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