Nashville Predators 3, Detroit Crimson Wings 2: Two Factors, None for Fashion

After two painful games on the Tampa Bay Lightningwhich resulted in days of Predators fans asking for mercy from the hockey gods Nashville Predators took the ice tonight against the 3-9-2 Detroit Red Wings.

Action of the first period

Pekka Rinne started in the network for the Predators. Fillip Forsberg got hungry but couldn’t get two great shots on the net early. Detroit’s Bobby Ryan took a great step toward goal, but Rinne refused to comply. The Predators had some expanded chances offensive – some even exciting ones – but exciting opportunities weren’t converted into goals. It was encouraging to see that the Predators looked at least offensive, even when it was against a fighting Red Wings team.

Photo by John Russell / NHLI via Getty Images

And then it happened.

A trip penalty against Dante Fabbro brought the Red Wings into the power game. Every Predators fan shuddered together as the Preds prepared for the penalty kick. The game against the Red Wings’ lousy power play was a good chance to build confidence, and the Predators killed the penalty kick without allowing a single shot on goal. Immediately following that special team opportunity, Matt Duchene took advantage of his violation voodoo and drew a penalty to bring the Predators into the power game.

With the man advantage, Filip Forsberg sent a beautiful cross-ice pass to a waiting Ryan Ellis, who buried the puck at 2:58 pm with one of the better looking goals of the season.

The Red Wings ended the period with their first really extended game in their offensive zone. Although the Predators finally cleared the puck, Colton Sissons slipped and Robby Fabbri, with the assistance of Anthony Mantha, found the back of the net at 7:25 pm.

The first period ended 1: 1.

Action of the second period

How would the Predators react if they gave up a goal less than a minute from time in the first half? Mental toughness under pressure was a focus for head coach John Hynes, and this was an opportunity to measure growth.

Forsberg and Arvidsson had an early two-on-one chance, but Forsberg’s pass to Arvy was interrupted and the only thing that landed in goal was # 33.

And then it happened … again.

Tinordi went to the sin container with a trip-call, and the Predators played down a man again. Rinne saved two shots and the penalty units clogged the neutral zone, won a defensive zone and made several good clearings. Aided by the Red Wings’ offside and poor pass tendency, the Predators recorded a second successful (and statistically useful) penalty.

The second half saw no offensive chances in the first half, but the Predators received a gift from above when Givani Smith caught Matt Benning with a high stick. The Preds’ first unit was set up early in the offensive zone but could not find the net. The second power play unit could not be set up and the power play ended with a better rested Red Wing and no change in score.

The Predators struggled to play clean hockey but were rescued by Rinne more than once.

Detroit Red Wings versus Nashville Predators

Photo by John Russell / NHLI via Getty Images

The game wasn’t pretty, but luckily Detroit’s game was just a little uglier. The Predators struggled to generate a meaningful, sustained offensive, and at times appeared to be arbitrary on defense. The hockey gods smiled at the boys in gold after a bad pass from Yakov Trenin landed on Frans Nielsen’s stick in the slot, but a ricochet off the crossbar spared the Predators.

Finally, after what the Preds described as anemic offensive phase, Calle Jarnkrok made a sharp pass to Matt Duchene, who knocked the puck through Greiss’ five-hole at 19:19.

But to prevent any dynamism or confidence from growing in Smashville, Marc Staal shot the puck past RInne only thirteen seconds later. Again, the Predators ended a period in which the Red Wings were able to level the game 2-2.

Third period action

And then it happened … again.

Less than a minute into the third half, Mikael Granlund walked to the penalty area after lifting the puck and taking it out of play, and the Predators had to kill another penalty kick. One chance for the Red Wings was answered by a shorthanded chance for the Preds, but unsurprisingly neither team managed to score.

Granlund was barely back on the ice from sin and this time took a penalty. Both power play units had positioned themselves in the offensive zone, but neither group could find the back of the net with the man advantage.

Just three minutes later, the Predators were given another chance at the power play when Ryan Ellis drew a penalty. Again, the Predators spent part of the time in the offensive zone, but no target.

Detroit Red Wings versus Nashville Predators

Photo by John Russell / NHLI via Getty Images

The hockey gods dozed off in the middle of the third period (as did the Predators and Red Wings, and possibly some fans too). While the Predators sought control of routes, they failed to capitalize on possession and did not play defensively with confidence.

And then it happened. You know what i’m talking about.

Yakov Trenin was told to hook six minutes before the end of the game. The Predators had a good chance but couldn’t finish. Rinne held the puck out of the net and the Predators survived another penalty.

Three minutes before the end of the game, Rinne halted an attack on Mantha with a giant save, but Greiss returned the favor with a direct slot shot from Matt Duchene. This game would get down to earth.

Dante Fabbro became the hero the predators needed. A shot from the blue line sailed past Greiss at 19:01.

The Red Wings immediately took time out and went online but failed to tie that game and the Predators won 3-2.

Three takeaways:

  1. Do you like bacon? Apparently, Pekka Rinne too, for saving the Predators’ Bacon the whole game. It was vintage pekka. Without his key rescues, the Predators could have dropped this game on the Red Wings.
  2. If the Predators want to spend time in the offensive zone, they have to score. Even though the Predators spent a lot of time in the O-Zone, they only scored 3 goals. This is not a production that this team will put in the overall standings.
  3. To measure how good you are, play against the best. To measure how bad you are, you play against the worst. The Tampa Bay game revealed a lot about this team. The game against Detroit was good too. While the Predators run away by two points, this game was played at the end of the division. The team has to rise if it is to be taken seriously.

The Predators are taking their two points and perhaps a touch of momentum in their rematch with Detroit on Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.