Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Detroit Rolls Through Nashville
The Detroit Red Wings came into Music City battered and bruised and left with another victory in hand as they blistered the Nashville Predators by a 5-3 score.
The Predators are usually “loaded for bear” when the Wings come to Nashville but on Tuesday night they had trouble getting out of the starting gate. Had it not been for stellar goaltending by Pekka Rinne during the first period, when the Wings out shot the Preds 27-8, the game would not have been close.
The Wings 27 shots ties the record for most shots against the Predators in a period that was set in the team’s first month of play in October 1998, also by Detroit. The final shot count of 51-21 was reflective of the dominance that the Wings showed on the ice than the final score .
The Predators played much better after the one-sided first period but had already dug themselves too big a hole to claw out of. Detroit led off the second period with a power play goal by Marion Hossa. After goals by Radek Bonk and Joel Ward the Preds pulled within a goal at 3-2 and seemed to be on their way to an amazing comeback.
Henrik Zetterberg’s goal 3:10 into the third period brought Detroit back to a more comfortable two goal lead. Joel Ward’s second goal at 10:36 in the third was a thing of beauty. He single-handedly fought from the blue line to the blue ice and snuck the puck into the net.
The Predators played desperate hockey for the remainder of the third period but were stymied by the Wings defensive efforts. Pavel Datsyuk’s empty netter at the end of the game was the icing on the cake for Detroit’s efforts.
Rekka Rinne made numerous spectacular saves in spite of giving up four goals. Rinne, who did not have his best game, probably would have liked to have had another shot a couple of the goals and had more problems with rebounds than usual but much of that can be attributed to the great job the Wings always do in front of the net. It is a rare occasion when a goalie can give up four goals in a game and improve their save percentage but this game proves that it can happen.
The Wings came in to Nashville without Johan Franzen, Thomas Holstrom and a host of others but on a team full of all-stars they were not missed. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk each scored two goals. Marion Hossa added another goal and Brian Rafalski had three assists in the star-studded performance by the Wings top players.
The loss was a tough one for the Preds who are 5-3 since the all-star break and are currently four points out of the last playoff spot. After a four game win streak, they have now lost two in a row.
The Predators are looking to right the ship Thursday night against St. Louis and play 11 of their next 14 games at home so it is critical for them to bring their best game every night.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass