The Detroit Red Wings got a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night in a game where the Red Wings dominated the second and third periods of the game. Pavel Datsyuk led the way offensively for the Red Wings with one goal and two assists to hand Nashville their ninth loss in the last 10 games.
Nashville played very well in the first period and got out to a 2-1 lead. Mike Fisher scored the first goal for the Predators in his return to the lineup on a beautiful pass from Rich Clune. Craig Smith scored the other goal for the Predators in the first period on a great second effort play. Valtteri Filpulla scored the lone goal for the Red Wings in the first.
Detroit had a lot to play for in this game. The Red Wings are fighting for a playoff spot, and that desperation showed in the final two periods. Johan Franzen, Patrick Eaves, Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader all scored for the Red Wings to give them the 5-2 victory after being down 2-1 after one period of play.
Thursday night’s game was the final meeting between these two teams as Central Division rivals. Detroit will be moving to the Eastern Conference next season under the new realignment plan and will only face the Predators two times every season. The Red Wings have always been the measuring stick for the Predators since Nashville came into the league in 1998. Now, this rivalry will be viewed in a different manner with the teams playing in separate conferences.
The Predators will take on the surging Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night in their final game of the season. It’s a huge game for the Blue Jackets, who must win to have a chance of making it into the playoffs. The Predators will try to play spoiler against a team they have historically dominated.
Five things from Thursday night’s game…
- Matt Halischuk left the game with an injury in the first period and did not return for the remainder of the game. It’s just another example of the misfortune the Predators have had with injuries to their forwards this season.
- Johan Frazen’s goal that he scored, which was the second of the game for the Red Wings, took a whole lot of skill. He was able to elevate the puck up and over Chris Mason from literally point-blank range. It takes a high skill level to execute a shot like that.
- Craig Smith’s multi-point game was huge for his confidence in a season where he has really struggled to be effective. It’s been a season to forget for Smith, but this type of effort could help his confidence toward next season.
- Former Predator Jordin Tootoo made a stellar backhand pass to Patrick Eaves for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
- It was an interesting night for Gustav Nyquist, who took three of the five Detroit penalties. He also drew a penalty as well, so Nyquist made a big impact on special teams all night long.
Three stars of Thursday night’s game…
1. Pavel Datsyuk, DET… Datsyuk had a three-point night and led all Detroit forwards in ice time with 18:31 played.
2. Johan Franzen, DET… Franzen had a goal and an assist and was a pest around the Nashville net all night long.
3. Henrik Zetterberg, DET… Detroit’s captain notched two assists and created several great scoring chances for the Red Wings.