Detroit at Nashville (4/2/11)

The Red Wings were on the road this afternoon to play the Predators in Nashville. Jimmy Howard was back from injury so he was the starting goalie for the Wings. The Predators started Pekka Rinne. Datsyuk, Kronwall and Miller were all out of the lineup today for Detroit.

After the 10 to 3 beating the Blues handed the Wings the other night at the Joe, the Red Wings had something to prove here this afternoon. And prove it, they did. They played very well today. They were aggressive, played good, tight defense and they generated a lot of scoring chances without giving up much. They were also playing tough. Bertuzzi got into a fight with O’Brien not even five minutes into the game. It was a one sided fight with Bertuzzi landing all of the punches and taking O’Brien down to the ice.

There were some questionable calls in this game starting with what looked like the first goal of the game being waved off and Holmstrom being sent to the penalty box for goalie interference. On the replay it was very difficult to see how Holmstrom interfered with Rinne at all. To the contrary, Rinne shoved Holmstrom in the back of the head. Holmstrom was just standing there at the top of the crease. You could argue that Rinne wasn’t able to come out as far as he wanted to challenge the shooter but there’s no way they can claim that Holmstrom initiated any contact. Instead of the Wings being up one to nothing, the Predators got a power play. While Holmstrom was in the box, Abdelkader was called for boarding so the Wings were down two men for a short time. When Holmstrom came out of the box he had to stay on the ice to help with the penalty kill, which he isn’t used to doing. He accidentally shot the puck over the glass while trying to clear it. That gave the Predators a long 5 on 3. With one minute left in the period, Ryan Suter scored a power play goal giving the Predators the lead which is how the period ended.

Early in the second period Erat scored a power play goal and then Kostitsyn scored less than a minute later making it three to nothing Predators. It was starting to look pretty dire for the Red Wings even though they were still playing well; they just weren’t getting good results. Then Kindl fired a long shot that beat Rinne and put the Wings on the board. Shortly after that Bertuzzi and O’Brien fought again with essentially the same outcome as the fight in the first period. Bertuzzi landed several punches to the back of O’Brien’s head and then took him down to the ice. It was great to see Bertuzzi step up like that and the team appreciated it. It really seemed to get them fired up. They started playing even harder. They were first to every loose puck and didn’t give the Predators anything. Just a few seconds after the fighting majors, Abdelkader scored with a tip in to bring the Red Wings to within a goal of tying it up. The Red Wings pressured like crazy but the period ended without another goal.

In the third period Abdelkader scored the game tying goal. He was playing like a man possessed. It was the best game of the season so far for Justin Abdelkader. He was all over the ice and just doing it all. The Wings generated a ton of scoring chances and were throwing everything at the net but they didn’t score again in the third period and regulation timed ended with a tie. At the Red Wings’ end Jimmy Howard made some incredible saves to preserve the tie.

The Red Wings continued playing with great intensity in the overtime period. With about two minutes left in the overtime Rafalski fired a shot from the point and Cleary tipped it into the net for the game winner.

It was a fantastic game for the Wings today. They really bounced back after the big loss the other night and they had to come back from a three to nothing deficit to do it. They really showed a lot of character on the ice today. Abdelkader was excellent. Cleary also had a great game. They were the first two stars of the game. You also have to credit Bertuzzi for getting the team riled up and Howard for keeping them in the game with some very timely saves.

This win clinched a playoff spot for the Red Wings for the 20th consecutive season and also gave them 100 points for the 11th straight season. Next up for the Wings is Minnesota at the Joe tomorrow afternoon. Minnesota also played today, losing at home to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

This 4-3 win brings us to:
100 points

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