Detroit at Nashville (2/28/09)

The Red Wings were on the road tonight for a game against the Nashville Predators. Conklin was the starting goalie for the Wings and Pekka Rinne was in net for the Predators. Detroit was playing for the second night in a row after beating Los Angeles at Joe Louis Arena on Friday night.

The teams seemed pretty even to start the game. Nashville was pressuring a little harder than the Wings were but not by much. The Predators had the puck in Detroit’s end and they were moving it very well. It came back to Weber near the blue line. He one-timed it and Koistinen redirected it in front of the net. Conklin didn’t have much of a chance. That gave the Predators the early lead.

Just a few seconds after the first goal it started to look like the wheels might be coming for the Wings in this game. The Predators got the puck to the front of the net. Legwand was there jamming away at it while Brad Stuart just stood there. I think Stuart was trying to pin the puck against Conklin’s pads. It didn’t work. Legwand pushed it past Conklin and the Wings were down by two.

A few minutes later the troubles continued. Brad Stuart had the puck behind the Red Wings net and lost it to Ward. He tried to pass it to the front of the net. The puck hit Conklin in the back of the head and dropped down behind him. He tried to kick it away as it fell to the ice but it trickled into the corner of the net for the Predators third unanswered goal in less than ten minutes. Obviously, when something like that happens you know it’s not going to be your night.

Only a few seconds later Pihlstrom was sprung on a breakaway. Conklin stopped his shot but the puck dropped down to the ice in front of him. Pihlstrom took another whack at it and pushed it by Conklin. Four nothing Predators.

That was it for Conklin. He gave up four goals on nine shots in ten minutes. He obviously looked really shaky but the defense didn’t help him much. He wasn’t the only one playing poorly. Osgood was called in to try to get things under control.

Within the first few seconds of Osgood coming in the Predators proved that it wasn’t all Conklin’s fault. Meech and Lilja ran into each other next to the Red Wings net and neither one could get control of the puck. One of the Predators took it away and a few passes later Arnott buried it in the net. That made it five nothing Nashville.

The Red Wings just couldn’t seem to get control of the puck. They kept giving it away and letting Nashville drive their end. The Predators were beating the Wings to every loose puck. They were faster and had a ton more jump in their game. They were obviously encouraged by the early success and just continued taking it to the Wings once they smelled blood.

The Red Wings managed to go the final five minutes of the period without giving up a goal. They reached the end of the first period down five to nothing. It would have been interesting to hear the conversation in the dressing room after that period. It’s probably the worst period I’ve seen them play all year. Nashville outshot Detroit 14 to 11, out chanced them 9 to 5, and they had 8 takeaways to Detroit’s 1. Very uncharacteristic of the Wings.

In the second period Lilja took Weber hard into the boards and then pulled him down backwards by the face. Weber got up swinging and started fighting with Lilja. Weber clearly won the fight. Lilja never threw a punch. Weber pretty much wailed on him. Lilja got an extra penalty for holding so the Predators went on the power play.

During the Predators power play they were buzzing around the Red Wings net. Sullivan took the puck to the net and Osgood stopped his shot. The rebound came back out to him as he went past the net. He swatted the rebound out of mid-air back to Arnott in front of the net. Arnott put it by Osgood to make it six to nothing.

That was the end of the damage in the second period. By that point Detroit was outshooting the Predators 25 to 20. The problem was Nashville had 14 takeaways and Detroit had 2. Nashville had also blocked 11 of Detroit’s shots.

In the third period the Predators scored their seventh unanswered goal. Weber released a slap shot from the near the blue line. Arnott was near the front of net providing some distraction but he didn’t touch the puck. The shot beat Osgood on his glove side.

A few minutes later Arnott got his third goal of the game making it eight to nothing Predators. Who really cares how the goal was scored?

The game ended (finally) with a final score of eight to nothing. I can’t remember the last time I saw the Red Wings play so badly. I can’t imagine what the reason could be for the sudden poor play. Playing the night before can’t have had THAT much of an impact. Some of it was just bad luck but they never really seemed to care very much. I wonder if maybe this was a psychological defeat. They just weren’t into it. Let’s put this one behind us and move on.

This 0-8 loss brings us to:
41-14-8
90 points

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