Detroit at Nashville (3/27/10)

Tonight was arguably the most important game of the season to date for the Red Wings. They were in Nashville to play the Predators, trailing them by two points in the standings. A win would tie them in points but the Wings would be ahead because they would have played one fewer game than the Predators. If the Wings could win in regulation and Colorado and Los Angeles both lose, then Detroit would be all alone in 5th place. A loss would put the Wings four points behind the Predators and drop them all the way down to 9th place. That’s quite a lot riding on this game.

The goalies tonight were Jimmy Howard and Pekka Rinne. Cleary was out tonight because the groin injury that he re-injured in Friday night’s game. Meech was in the lineup to take his place.

Before the game Mike Babcock had said that there were two games tonight. A 10 minute game and a 50 minute game and you have to start on time. Well in the first 8 minutes of the game the Red Wings didn’t have a shot on goal. That stat was a bit misleading however because they did have some good chances and they were playing pretty well but their shots were missing the net and getting blocked.

The first period ended with no score. The Red Wings were being slightly outshot but they had to kill off a few penalties and didn’t have any power play time. The period ended with the Predators on the power play so the Wings had to kill off over a minute of penalty time to start the second period.

In the second period the Wings finally had a few power plays of their own and took over offensively. They outshot the Predators but still weren’t able to score. Neither were the Predators however so the goose eggs carried over into the third period.

Throughout the third period the chess match continued and neither team scored. Jimmy Howard was superb. He made several highlight reel stops and his rebound control was perfect. Unfortunately, at the other end Rinne was playing just as well.

Regulation time ended with no score so each team got one point. Detroit outshot Nashville 37 to 32 in regulation.

Nobody scored in the overtime either although the Red Wings had more chances than the Predators. Both teams were playing pretty defensively throughout the entire game.

It was time for the shootout to determine a winner. Datsyuk was up first. He did some stick work and fired but Rinne stopped his shot with the blocker. O’Reilly did pretty much the same thing as Datsyuk and Howard stopped him as well. Williams was next. He made a heck of a move but Rinne made great save to stop his shot. Erat came up, faked and Howard stopped him nicely. Then it was Zetterberg’s turn. He faked but ran out of room before he had the angle he wanted and Rinne never gave up the post. Legwand tried to go five hole and Howard stopped him. Franzen came up next and missed high. Goc was next and Howard stopped him, too. Bertuzzi was up next. He took his time skating around, got in really close and put it over Rinne’s glove for the score. Sullivan came up for Nashville, faked left and Howard went down. He went back to the right and squeaked it in to tie it up. Filppula came up and was stopped by Rinne. Franson went next and Howard caught it in his glove. Miller got it past Rinne but it bounced off the goal post. Hornqvist fired over the net. Holmstrom made some moves but was stopped by Rinne with the pad. Dumont came up and Howard made a great stop. Eaves faked and stumbled before he could get a shot off. Boyd had the puck poke checked away by Howard. Draper fired and missed. Wilson was stopped by Howard. Kronwall came in fast and beat Rinne through the five hole for the score. Bouillon went next and Howard stopped him for the win. Whew!

What a battle! Jimmy Howard got the well deserved win after a shutout through regulation and overtime. He only allowed one puck in the net on 11 shots in the shootout. This wasn’t the most exciting game in the world but it was really impressive to see the goaltenders duel like that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a long shoot and I can’t say enough about how great Jimmy Howard was. Truly top notch!

So the Red Wings are still one point behind Nashville in the standings but their position will be determined by the outcome of the Colorado and Los Angeles games later tonight.

This 1-0 win brings us to:
39-23-13
91 points

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