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Red Wings looking to take control on home ice

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DETROIT -- Home ice was quite an advantage for the Detroit Red Wings during the regular season.

It has also provided an edge in past playoff matchups with the Nashville Predators.

The Red Wings won an NHL-high 31 home games this season, including a league-record 23 straight, and are 6-0 in Joe Louis Arena against Nashville in post-season series they won in 2004 and 2008.

"Obviously that's a tough place to play," Predators defenceman Ryan Suter said Saturday. "If we want to win the series, we're going to have to win a game there. Going into it you're not looking at it as, 'Oh jeez we've never won there. We gotta win.' But it's just more the fact that if we play the way we're capable of playing, we have a good chance to win."

The Red Wings beat Nashville 3-2 Friday night in Game 2 -- to tie the first-round series -- after losing 3-2 in the opener.

Detroit has a chance to take control of the series by hosting games today and Tuesday night.

"We've played fairly well at home," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "And in saying all of that, let's not put too much into that. They beat us last time in here."

In fact, the Predators dominated Detroit on the road last month in a 4-1 victory that helped them finish two points ahead in the standings to earn home-ice advantage in the matchup of fourth- and fifth-seeded teams.

Nashville finished ahead of the Red Wings for the first time in its 13-season history in part because on the power play, no NHL team was better. In the playoffs, though, Detroit hasn't allowed the Predators to score on any of their 12 chances with at least one extra skater on the ice.

"We've just been doing a great job frustrating them, blocking shots, taking away passing lanes," Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard said. "I really think it's the sacrificing the body, the way we've been blocking shots. Guys have been putting their bodies on the line out there. It's not easy to step in front of Shea Weber's shot. Guys have been doing it."

Detroit defenceman Ian White paid the price for blocking a shot in Game 2, hurting his left foot enough that he didn't practice Saturday. White said he fully expects to play in Game 3.

Predators' injured defenceman Hal Gill, didn't practice Saturday, but Gill said he hoped to be on the ice in Game 3.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 15, 2012 B4

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