Still running high after their 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday, the Predators welcome their favorite division rival, the Detroit Red Wings (along with half their fan base) to Nashville tonight. The Predators would have to hang on to the momentum from Thursday to power through the Red Wings, even though a majority of their team, including the unstoppable Pavel Datsyuk, was scratched due to injuries and other causes. However, even with all the scratches and set backs, the Red Wings are still 2nd in the Central Division and the Predators are currently sitting pretty in 3rd.
Here are the highlights from tonight’s game against the Motor City:
- Craig Smith, Brandon Yip, Brian McGrattan, Jack Hillen, and Kevin Klein were minor scratches compared to half the team for the Red Wings. Klein is still hanging out on the scratched list so we are hoping his injury isn’t as bad as once thought. No IR for Klein… yet.
- Patric Hornqvist drew the first blood, sending a wrist shot flying past Wings goalie, Joey MacDonald for his 21st goal of the season at 7:30. David Legwand picked up his first assist (27th overall) of the night on Horny’s goal.
- Like a bad memory from Tuesday’s game against the Kings, before Paul could even announce Horny’s goal, the Red Wings tied the game 1-1 with a wrist shot from Drew Miller at 7:43. Detroit’s first goal of the night was Miller’s 13th of the season.
- Andrei Kostitsyn would pick up his first power play goal with the Predators at 11:59 with a gorgeous wrist shot past MacDonald with a little help from little brother Sergei and Predators veteran David Legwand (Leggy’s send assist of the night).
- The 2nd Period was filled with ups and downs, but produced no goals. The Predators defense stepped up and showed real strengthen during a critical moment when both Shea Weber and Francis Bouillon found themselves in the penalty box at the same time, leaving the Predators down 3 to 5. The Predators were able to keep the puck cleared of Pekka’s net and the Red Wings were unable to capitalize on the potential power play opportunities.
- Andrei Kostitsyn would answer the power play call once again at 4:34 in the 3rd, sealing his 15th goal of the season with another clean wrist shot into the net. Once again, Sergei Kostitsyn and David Legwand picked up the assists, proving that the 46-74-11 line is just as powerful as the 12-74-10 line. Of course, tonight was the first night for this line, so time will tell if this new Belorussian Leg Line will be as reliable as the Belorussian Fishing Erat Line.
- Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader would make the Predators fans sweat a wee bit at 14:35 for his 8th goal of the season. Unfortunately for the Red Wings, even with an empty-netter and a nice penalty from Captain Shea Weber with 10 seconds left in the game, they just weren’t able to slip passed Nashville’s defense and the all-powerful Pekka Rinne.
- The Predators were out-shot by the Red Wings 37 to 20 and still managed to pull out the win (like they always seem to do). Pekka Rinne continued to prove his awesomeness, with gymnast-like moves that would make your gym teacher smile. Thankfully, the defense was on their A-Game as well, keeping many pucks from reaching the final block that is Pekka Rinne.
- Both Detroit and Nashville had the same amount of penalties, both accounting for four. Luckily for Nashville, the Red Wings were unable to score on any that were given to them, yet the Predators were able to clinch two power plays. Here are the penalties Weber and Bouillon added to the game:
- Shea Weber – 14:48 2nd Period – Interference
- Francis Bouillon – 16:38 2nd Period – Hooking
- Francis Bouillon – 12:01 3rd Period – Holding
- Shea Weber – 19:50 3rd Period – Roughing (more like punching Holmstrom in the head)
As the headline reads, the AK-SK-Leggy Line proved successful tonight against the Red Wings. However, not all of the glory must be bestowed upon the two Belorussians and the Detroit native, for the defense played exceptionally well also, giving Pekka a little breathing room.
The Predators are now 40-21-7 on the season and are heading west to take on a few conference rivals including the Coyotes, the Sharks, the Kings, and the ever popular Ducks in the upcoming week. The Predators will return to Nashville to take on the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, March 20th (which also happens to be Sergei Kostitsyn’s birthday). <– No stalking around here, totally in the Predators calendar!
The Predators are off to Phoenix Monday to face the Coyotes, who are currently 2nd in the Pacific Division. The puck drops late at 9PM CST.
(Photo credit: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
Almost forgot! A catfish and two squids (or were they octopi? Couldn’t count the legs from afar) were thrown to the ice tonight. We haven’t seen a catfish in quite a while, but we thank whoever took one for the team to stuff a catfish in their undies to smuggle it into the game. We also commend the Red Wings fans who brought the squids.