Despite Showing Fight, Detroit Falls Prey to Nashville
The Wings may not have been victorious, but if they were one thing they were certainly determined.
Detroit fell into a 2-0 deficit early in the game, but managed to claw their way to a 3-3 tie before the end of regulation. What little luck The Red Wings had found ran dry shortly thereafter though, as Predator captain Shea Weber capitalized on a bad defensive decision and a fortunate bounce, scoring the OT winner to finish off Detroit 4-3.
Though the Wings showed much more heart in this tilt than recent others, the hockey gods were not on Detroit's side. After almost losing Nik Kronwall to injury, Red Wings fans were relieved to see him return to the bench. That relief was short-lived, though, as Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard made his own trip down to the locker room and did not return. Backup Jonas Gustavsson came in to replace Howard and posted a solid enough effort to keep his team in the game. Cory Emmerton took a puck to the face that split him open, but he would return as Kronwall did. As if that weren't bad enough, Detroit had already lost a man before the game even started. Mikael Samuelsson was hit in the hand by a puck during practice and was forced to sit out the match till he can get x-ray results to diagnose any potential damage.
Despite these injuries, and a horrendously one-sided penalty party by the officials, Detroit hung in and gave themselves chances to steal the game. Detroit's determination was personified in the 3rd period, when Pavel Datsyuk stole the show. Throwing a hit in his own zone, he gained possession of the puck and went to work, cutting through two Nashville players, then three more just past the offensive blueline, weaving a spell in front of Preds goalie Pekka Rinne before slipping the puck just under Rinne's arm. Rinne only got a small piece of the puck, which still managed to trickle over the goal line. As Larry Murphy said last night, you do not see Datsyuk show too much gloat after his goals, but he was obviously fired up after this particular effort paid off.
Although the Red Wings only got a point for their showing, they are at the stage where any points are better than none. Mike Babcock said himself that the team is taking on water, and it is definitely true. Detroit currently sits 9th in the West, out of the playoff picture, but there were positives to take from this game, which has been lacking of late. In the end, if the Wings are going to lose games, it's better to at least steal points doing so. Detroit will be healthy someday--hopefully sooner rather than later--and when that happens, things should start falling back into place. It's a case where the Red Wings must simply weather the storm until they start getting the Franzens and the Bertuzzis and the Helms back.
Let's just hope that the storm only lasts so long though, because any ship that takes on water for too long is liable to sink.