Last-Second Eurotwin Heroics Extend Streak
Tonight's game was a hard fought battle for two key points between division rivals. The game was close and had a playoff atmosphere. Before the game Detroit was ahead of Nashville by eight points but the Predators had a game in hand. Nashville was looking to catch St. Louis for second place in the Central and Detroit sought to put more space between them and 2nd seeded Vancouver. With the win Detroit extends their NHL record with their 22nd consecutive home win.
Detroit had the edge in performance and shots in the first, outshooting Nashville 14-9 in the opening period. Johan Franzen put Detroit on the board at 12:44 in the first with his team-leading 23rd goal off a spectacular play involving the entire line. After falling to the ice Pavel Datsyuk played the puck to Bertuzzi while laying down, Bert sent a great pass from behind the goal line out to the Mule who barreled down the slot and put the puck behind Pekka Rinne.
Nashville controlled play for much of the second period but only outshot the Red Wings 8-7. Nasvhille got the equalizer after pest Jordin Tootoo capitalized on a turnover by Jakub Kindl. Tootoo passed it to Nick Spaling who scored his ninth of the season easily. Mike Babcock called a timeout midway through the second to help Detroit regroup after a flurry of Predator activity in the Detroit zone.
Detroit came out with more fire in the third but the game remained an up-and-down, back and forth affair wtih both teams failing to score on excellent scoring chances. The Red Wings led the third period shot total 10-4. Detroit kept applying pressure and it seemed the game was headed to OT until Zetterberg sent an exceptional pass to Pavel Datsyuk who broke in alone and beat Rinne with 5 seconds left to put Detroit up for good.
The Predators had several breakaways and odd-man rushes throughout the game due to aggressive defense. Henrik Zetterberg who was a game-time decision with an undisclosed lower-body injury played well and did not appear injured. His assist on Datsyuk's game winner was his 600th point. Tomas Tatar, who had been called up to replace Hank in the lineup was scratched after Zetterberg determined he could play.
The Red Wings next game is Sunday at 12:30 PM against the Pacific-leading San Jose Sharks. Jimmy Howard is scheduled to return to the Detroit crease and Danny Cleary may return after having his knee drained.
Mike Babcock has not made a decision yet on whether Joey Macdonald will return to Grand Rapids or will stay in Detroit as the backup. If Macdonald stays, Ty Conklin will have to clear waivers before becoming a Griffin. Macdonald has played extremely well and I doubt many in Wings Nation will lose sleep with Conklin on waivers.