The Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings faced off in Game 5 last night in Smashville, with the Red Wings hanging at the mercy of the Predators in what could have been their final game in the playoffs. The Predators took Game 1 with ease, lost Game 2 at home, then pummeled the Wings back-to-back in the Joe. With Nashville holding the series 3-1, Detroit needed a “Pittsburgh/Vancouver” miracle to keep the series going, but Nashville was already looking forward to Round 2. Here are the highlights from last night’s history making game:
- Although day-to-day at this point, Hal Gill placed it safe and sat out yet again on the scratched list. Colin Wilson, Brian McGrattan, Chet Pickard, Jack Hillen, Matt Halischuk, and Jordin Tootoo topped out the scratched list. After making a good impression in Detroit, Ryan Ellis got another chance at playoff time, along with Craig Smith.
- After expressing much frustration, Alexander Radulov finally sealed a playoff goal at 16:10 in the 1st Period, thanks to a nice pick from David Legwand. Leggy’s 2nd assist was the only one on Rad’s first playoff goal.
- The 2nd Period belonged solely to the Red Wings, with Jiri Hudler slipping a backhander passed Pekka Rinne at 13:45. Hudler’s goal was his second of the playoffs.
- After helping Radulov seal his first goal, David Legwand reminded Detroit of how well he plays against them by scoring his 2nd playoff goal just 13 seconds into the 3rd Period. Gabriel Bourque (1st assist) and Alexander Radulov (4th assist) picked up the assists on Leggy’s goal. With this goal, David Legwand has clinched the 1st Round game-winning goal two years in a row.
- Although Leggy scored only seconds into the third period, giving Detroit plenty of opportunities to tie or even surpass the Predators, Nashville’s extraordinary defense held the desperate Red Wings back, sealing the series in Nashville’s favor and sending Detroit into an early retirement.
- Although the Predators do better when out-shot, the Predators surpassed the Red Wings in shots on goal 25 to 22, with Pekka blocking all but one. Detroit attempted to stay under the Predators on shots, only surpassing them in the 3rd Period 8 to 7. If there was an MVP per Round, it’s clear Pekka Rinne would be the winner, hands down. Detroit had many a chance to take the lead and perhaps take the series, but Pekka Rinne and Nashville’s defense (A.K.A. Kevin Klein) thwarted any chance for advancement for the Red Wings.
- The Predators only faced two of five penalties, with neither team able to score on the given power plays. Here are the two penalty offenders of Game 5 for Nashville:
- Mike Fisher – 31 seconds 1st Period – Interference
- Brandon Yip – 18:26 1st Period – Goalkeeper Interference
Reaching an outstanding 112 decibels, it was clear the fans were happy with the end result last night in the Bridgestone Arena as the Nashville Predators knocked off the Detroit Red Wings in the Quarterfinal Round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs. This is the third time in the past sixteen post-seasons the Detroit Red Wings have failed to reach the second round of the playoffs, even more reason for the Predators to celebrate.
As they say, third time’s the charm, as this is the third meeting between these two teams during the post-season, with Detroit knocking out Nashville in both 2004 and 2008. Last night was little brother’s turn to finally surpass big brother and how sweet it was.
The Predators will now take a nice hiatus while the rest of the league continues to knock one another out, but Nashville will ultimately face the winner of the Chicago/Phoenix game.
(Photo courtesy of John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)