Nashville at Detroit (1/29/10)

The Nashville Predators were in Detroit tonight to face the Red Wings. The goalies for this game were Jimmy Howard and Dan Ellis. Abdelkader was out of the lineup after being sent back to Grand Rapids thanks to the return of Jason Williams. Abdelkader played really well for the most part but still it was great to have Jason Williams back. Holmstrom is expected back on Sunday which it also wonderful news. Lebda was in the lineup tonight as Meech and Leino were both healthy scratches. Brad Stuart was apparently injured the other night in the game against Minnesota but he was okay to go tonight so it must not have been anything serious.

The first period was characterized by giveaways and sloppy defense on the part of the Red Wings and fantastic saves by Jimmy Howard.

As frustrating as the game had been through most of the first, the Red Wings had a chance to turn it around when they went on the power play late in the period. They had a few good chances including one where Miller shot at a mostly open net, but Filppula was in the way and it hit him instead. Later on the same shift Filppula shot and Miller tipped it. It continued through to Williams who was parked in front of the net and he tipped it in back door on Ellis. That made it one to nothing Red Wings which was really lucky considering they were being outplayed by the Predators.

About a minute later Zetterberg lost his stick in the defensive end and the Predators took full advantage. Dumont passed across the ice to Bouillon who one timed it into the net before Howard could get over. That tied it up at one each.

Surprisingly, the stats for shots and chances were fairly even. It certainly seemed quite a bit worse than the stats indicated. Mickey Redmond seemed skeptical of their accuracy.

In the second period the Red Wings took control a little bit and got the momentum swinging their way. They were on the power play and moving the puck really well. Lidstrom made a great to play to keep the puck in the zone and then circled back around to the slot. Zetterberg chipped it ahead to Datsyuk who made a perfect pass to Lidstrom. He one-timed it and scored to take the lead two to one on the power play goal.

A few minutes later the Wings were on the power play again. Just a few seconds after it had expired Stuart sent the puck from the point to the front of the net. Miller was there and redirected it but it ended up under Ellis. He moved a little bit and puck slid out from under his pads. Miller was still there and smacked it into the net to give the Red Wings a two goal lead three to one.

By the end of the second period the shots and chances stats were much more skewed in Nashville’s favor. Even though Detroit outscored the Predators two to nothing in the second period they were still being outplayed at least on paper. The most glaring stat was the 12 giveaways that Detroit had through two periods.

In the third period Weber had the puck along the boards and he just chucked it towards the net. It looked like it hit Stuart’s stick and deflected into the top corner of the net to pull the Predators to within a goal of tying it.

Later in the third Zetterberg shot from an angle that was so bad that he was actually below the goal line. The puck went under Ellis’ arm and into the net. Ellis pushed the net back when he moved into position so it was reviewed to see if the net was out of position when the puck crossed the line. The call on the ice was determined to be correct so it was a good goal.

With a 1:35 left in the game Nashville had pulled their goalie and then Rafalski was called for interference so it became a six on four advantage. Nashville had a lot of chances but the Wings kept them off the board for the rest of the game.

This was a big and lucky win for the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard faced 48 shots thanks to all the giveaways. He stopped 46 of them which was just incredible. It was a┬áheck of a performance by him. I hate to think where the Wings would be this year if they’d had mediocre goaltending. With all the injuries, excellent goaltending has been a necessity and Jimmy Howard has been giving it to them on a routine basis.

This 2-4 win brings us to:
61 points

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