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Best of NHL playoffs for April 20: Pekka Rinne leads the way for Nashville

By Adam Gretz | Hockey writer
PredatorsREDWINGSIt's not a huge upset that the Detroit Red Wings lost in the first round.

The Nashville Predators were obviously a worthy opponent, and with a goaltender like Pekka Rinne are capable of going on a long run through the Stanley Cup playoffs. I do think it's a bit of a surprise that it happened so quickly, with Nashville moving on after just five games.

What's odd is the one game the Red Wings did win, Game 2, was probably one of their worst performances of the series, and at least three of games they lost they were probably good enough to have deserved a better fate. But that's what tends to happen in the playoffs when you run into a team that has a goalie like Rinne, who has now stopped 102 of the past 106 shots he's faced.

For the Wings, it's the first time they've been knocked out in the first round since the 2005-06 season when they were upset in stunning fashion by the No. 8 seed Edmonton Oilers after winning 58 games during the regular season.

This loss isn't anywhere near as disappointing as that one. Detroit still has a pretty strong core coming back and it should absolutely still be a playoff team next season. But with Nicklas Lidstrom's future still undecided at this point, and some guys starting to get a bit longer in the tooth, you have to wonder if the Stanley Cup window has closed at least for a little while in Hockeytown.

As for the rest of Friday's action...

Best Save

Marc-Andre Fleury had to make quite a few big saves in the third period for Pittsburgh, and this one on Scott Hartnell turned out to be one of his better ones.



BestPlayer

David Legwand: With the third period performace by Fleury and Rinne stealing the show the entire series for Nashville, it would be easy to overlook David Legwand on Friday night. But I'm not. He not only scored the game-winning goal in Nashville's 2-1 win against Detroit, he also assisted on Alexander Radulov's first period goal (Radulov's first of the playoffs, and first NHL playoff goal since 2008) and won six of his eight faceoffs, including two in the defensive zone.

A pretty solid all-around performance by Nashville's longest-tenured player.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
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