Nashville finds Strength in Detroit; Predators Win 3-2

Take that, Klein haters!

Game 3 of the Detroit/Nashville series started bright and early today with the puck dropping at 11AM; the first game scheduled for the day.

Nashville struggled Friday night on home ice, losing to Detroit 3-2 in regulation and tying the series 1-1. With two games down in Nashville, it was time for the Predators to head north to the Motor City to throw-down in the Joe. However, the Predators last visit in Detroit bounced in their favor, wiping out the Red Wings 4-1. Needless to say, the Predators aren’t afraid of Detroit and its fans, but would it be enough to erase the power play issues from Friday? Here are the highlights from today’s game in Detroit:

KEY POINTS:

  • Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen, Chet Pickard, Brian McGrattan, and Hal Gill rounded up the scratched list for Game 3, but one surprise was the scratch of Matt Halischuk. In replace of Hali, Jordin Tootoo hit the ice, along with rookie Ryan Ellis.
  • Good thing Shea Weber feeds positively off of negativity, for he sealed the first goal of the game at 2:48 on the power play for his 2nd goal of the playoffs. Every time Weber’s stick would touch the puck, a cascade of “boos” would float amongst the crowd, but Weber quickly silenced them. Andrei Kostitsyn (1st assist) and Alexander Radulov (2nd assist) picked up the assists on Weber’s silencer.
  • Kevin Klein would pick up a goal of his own at 3:50 in the 2nd Period, his first of the playoffs after scoring only four during the season. Martin Erat picked up his first assist of the playoffs, also the first point acquired by the top line of SK74-Marty-Fisher.
  • Pavel Datsyuk would finally get Detroit’s ball rolling at 15:03 with a wrap-around goal passed Pekka Rinne. This was Datsyuk’s first goal of the playoffs.
  • Johan Franzen stopped the hearts of millions watching when he was able to slip the puck by Pekka Rinne, essentially tying the game with under a second left in the 2nd Period. The goal was reviewed and it was clear the clock had run out just milliseconds before passing Pekka, rendering it no good. Whew!
  • Sergei Kostitsyn would sink the third goal for the Predators at 16:30 with a clean snap shot passed Jimmy Howard. Mike Fisher picked up his first assist and point of the playoffs along with Kevin Klein (1st assist) on SK74’s first goal of the playoffs.
  • Henrik Zetterberg would leave fans biting their nails at 19:06 when he was able to put the Red Wings within one of tying the game with Nashville on the power play, but the Predators defense would prove impenetrable, holding the Wings at bay until the final horn sounded to end the game.
  • Call this the Series of the Penalties! Twelve penalties in all, with six penalties for each team, giving both Detroit and Nashville equal power play opportunities. Unlike Friday, Nashville was finally able to snag a power play goal, but Detroit was able to snag one as well. Pointless penalty of the day came from Jordin Tootoo, who was called for roughing after pushing on Henrik Zetterberg. If you’re going to take a penalty, at least get a few swings in first! Here are the other Predators who took some time to reflect in the box:
  1.  David Legwand – 12:53 1st Period – Tripping
  2. Jordin Tootoo – 1:21 2nd Period – Roughing
  3. David Legwand (served by Patric Hornqvist) – 14:33 2nd Period – Interference
  4. Mike Fisher – 17:46 2nd Period – Roughing
  5. Sergei Kostitsyn – 19:49 2nd Period – Hi-Sticking
  6. David Legwand – 18:23 3rd Period – Holding
  • Pekka Rinne blew Detroit away in usual fashion, blocking 41 of 43 shots on goal. Nashville lacked on the shots on net, only attempting 22, but the accuracy was much better and Howard just wasn’t expecting to be taken out on his own ice.
  • Kevin Klein stepped up today, gaining an assist and a goal, only his 2nd playoff goal of his career. Both Kostitsyn brothers picked up points, with Andrei gaining an assist and Sergei collecting a goal. The top line all finally found a groove, with Fisher and Erat both gaining assists and, again, SK74 with a goal. 
The Predators came out swinging in the first period, but the second and third periods left us biting our nails down to the quick. However, a win’s a win and we will take it, especially when it is up in Motown. This win was actually Nashville’s first post-season win in Detroit in franchise history. As “Not Paul Gaustad” said on Twitter:

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The Predators stay in Detroit until Tuesday, taking on the sea of Red at 6:30PM. Although the defense has been doing pretty well thus far, if Hal Gill can return by Tuesday, we believe there’s no stopping Nashville from taking this series.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Datsyuk’s last Second Goal saves Wings, Preds lose 2-1

Pavel Datsyuk keeps the game from going into overtime at 19:54.

This is one of the few and rare times we will use a picture of the opposing team to headline our post game write-ups. However, Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk gets the rare opportunity only because he kept the game from going into overtime and sealing Detroit’s 22nd consecutive home game win. The Predators and the Red Wings both put up a tough fight, but it was Datsyuk’s 19:54 goal that saved the Red Wings in the end. Here are the highlights from last night’s game in the Motor City:

KEY POINTS:

  • Patric Hornqvist has now been placed on the IR due to his upper-body injury. Brian McGrattan is also feeling the effects of his injury, finding himself once again on the scratched list. Jack Hillen was also scratched from the game also.
  • Bittersweet news for the Predators on Friday as the Predators and the Montreal Canadiens came to a trade agreement. The Predators acquired defensemen Hal Gill, but for the price of a one Blake Geoffrion along with Milwaukee Admiral Robert Slaney. Along with Gill, the Predators were also given a conditional 5th round pick in this year’s draft. Gill met with his new teammates last night in Detroit, but will officially dawn the gold jersey against the Dallas Stars on Sunday night.
  • Both teams pushed hard in the first period, giving both goalies a run for their money. It was Johan Franzen who struck a nerve first at 12:44 with a wrist shot passed Pekka, his twenty-third goal of the season.
  • The second period only produced one goal as well, but this time under the Predators’ control. At 14:58, Nick Spaling gained his ninth goal of the season with a wrist shot passed Joey MacDonald. Spals was assisted by solely by Jordin Tootoo.
  • After 19 minutes of back and forth play, it seemed as if the game was going to go into overtime. Pavel Datsyuk had different intentions, tripping up the Predators, and wrist shooting one right passed Pekka to seal the 22nd consecutive home game for the Detroit Red Wings, extending their record-setting achievement. Sadly, yet another thing for Red Wing fans to run their mouths about…
  • Pekka did exceptionally well, as always, blocking 29 of 31 shots on goal. Also, only one Predator found time in the penalty box, which was rookie Ryan Ellis in the 1st period with a hooking penalty.

Since the All-Star break, the Predators have been lacking just a wee bit in the winning department, still looking a little groggy from that one week of freedom. However, with the recent acquiring of veteran Hal Gill, the Predators might (and hopefully) get a good grip of playoff potential reality.

The Predators continue their trek against Western Conference rivals on Sunday against the Dallas Stars at 6PM. The Predators have not been able to take out the Stars at all this season, so a nice win in Dallas might just be what the Predators need to get back on the winning train.

Until then,
GO PREDS.