Nashville at Detroit (3/29/09)

This afternoon the Predators were at Joe Louis Arena to face the Red Wings. Nashville was coming off a game the night before. This game had an early 5:00 P.M. start which for the folks from Nashville felt like 4:00 P.M. so they had to be careful to keep their shifts short in this game.

Pekka Rinne was the goalie for the Predators and Osgood was the starter for the Red Wings for the second game in a row. Filppula, Cleary and Samuelsson were the starting line. Kronwall and Ericsson were the starting defensive pair.

Early in the first period Chelios took a penalty. On the ensuing power play Sullivan walked in with the puck. He passed it off, skated through the defense and got the pass back. He made a move around Osgood and scored. It was a classic give and go. That gave the Predators the early one nothing lead.

The Red Wings looked to be having some bad luck early on in this one. The puck was jumping over sticks and Datsyuk even missed the net by a wide margin on one shot.

It didn’t take long for the luck to change though. After the Red Wings took another penalty, Lidstrom sprung Zetterberg for a shorthanded breakaway. He skated in and blasted one that beat Rinne to tie the game. That gave Zetterberg 30 goals on the season joining the ranks of Franzen, Datsyuk and Hossa.

Osgood had a couple of great saves early on in this one. It looked like he was in the zone.

Late in the first period there was a big scrum in front the Nashville net and Detroit banged the puck in. However, it went in off of Franzen’s skate and he clearly used a kicking motion. The issue was whether it went in off of anything else after the kick. The ruling was that it was indeed kicked in so the goal was waived off.

In the second period Detroit ended up with a 5 on 3 power play. After a faceoff win Datsyuk made a perfect pass through traffic to Samuelsson who one-timed it for a goal. There was one second left on the 5 on 3 so the Red Wings stayed on the power play but didn’t score again.

In the third period Ericsson got crossed up with Kopecky and turned the puck over to Dumont. He got it back to Klein at the point. Klein shot the puck into a big scrum in front of the net. The puck bounced around in front and Ward poked it in to tie the game.

Then, while they were still announcing the goal, Nashville scored again to take the lead. The puck was hit with a high stick which might have caused the Wings to let up a little expecting a whistle. There was no whistle because Stuart played it. He didn’t control it though and Nashville got it back. It came to Smithson who took the shot. It went between Osgood’s legs to give the Predators the lead. The Red Wings took their time out at that point. They had about eight minutes left in the game.

With about five minutes left Detroit tied the game. Datsyuk brought the puck into the zone and passed across to Franzen in the high slot. Franzen shot it between the defenseman’s legs which made it hard to Rinne to see. That made it three to three.

A few seconds after that Chelios was called for crosschecking. The penalty was both obvious and pointless and cost the Red Wings a goal and, in my opinion, the game. On the power play Sullivan got the puck to Suter. He shot from the point and beat Osgood. There was some traffic in front but it didn’t look like it changed direction at all. I would blame this one on Chelios. His penalty erased the great goal by Franzen. It also stopped the Red Wings momentum and ultimately, cost them the game. Two of the Predators goals in this game, including the game-winner, were scored on power plays created by Chelios’ penalties. Talk about the walk of shame back to the bench!

This was their second loss in a row, both at home. We need to turn this around quickly if we want to enter the playoffs on a hot streak. Like Babcock said, it’s impossible to manufacture the kind of intensity that Nashville is playing with. No matter how much they try to talk themselves into getting up for the game the Wings know that these games don’t really matter. It’s a bad habit to get into though at this point of the season because I’m sure it’s hard to turn it back on again when the time comes.

This 4-3 loss brings us to:
49-18-9
107 points

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