By Amanda DiPaolo
When the Nashville Predators left for Detroit, the team was set to play 9 of the next 10 games on the road.
Michigan native, David Legwand explained what the Predators have to do to be successful on the road. “Just work. We have to play a team game. We just need to be ready to go every night. And go from there. That’s our big thing. We know we have got a challenge on the road. We have to move forward.”
Detroit’s Pavel Datsyuk proved to be the difference maker on Saturday night scoring two goals and adding an assist in Detroit’s 5-2 win over Nashville. The Predators lost their second consecutive game in regulation for the first time this season. The Red Wings move to 6-2-1 on the season. Nashville falls to 5-2-3.
Francis Bouillon and Jordin Tootoo didn’t suit up for Nashville. The Predators listed both players as out with upper body injuries. With Bouillon and Tootoo not playing, Nashville was without five regulars out of the lineup. Ryan Suter, Marcel Goc and Matthew Lombardi remain on injured reserve.
Detroit got on the board first with 7:49 left to play in the first period when Pavel Datsyuk scored into an empty net with Pekka Rinne out of position. It was Datsyuk’s fifth goal of the season.
The Predators looked a little unorganized out on the ice and couldn’t muster up much offense in the first period of play. Only one line had played together before. Cal O’Reilly continued to center Steve Sullivan and Patric Hornqvist, but Trotz would even break these three players up come the second period. Colin Wilson started out by playing on the David Legwand-Joel Ward line. Nick Spaling was promoted to center Martin Erat and JP Dumont. The AHL player of the week, Linus Klasen, made his NHL debut on the fourth line with Jerred Smithson and Sergei Kostitsyn.
Nashville picked it up during the second period, as head coach Barry Trotz mixed up the lines from the first period.
At 5:48 of the second period, Nashville had a 3 on 1 with Joel Ward, Kevin Klein and Nick Spaling heading to the net. Ward passed it to Klein and Klein passed it back, instead of taking a clear shot and Ward couldn’t control the pass. No shot on goal, but there was a jam in front of the net that resulted in a power play for the Predators.
Just as the power play expired, Joel Ward scored from the high slot. Cody Franson and O’Reilly picked up the assists. The goal was scored with just over 12 minutes to play in the middle frame.
Penalties started to pile up on Nashville. Spaling was called for holding. With the penalty about to expire, Nashville got called for another penalty. Legwand was called for tripping, giving the Red Wings their fourth power play. For the second consecutive period, the Predators let in a goal within the last 1:30 of the game. Pavel Datsyuk scored his second goal of the game with 1:18 left to play.
Entering the third period with a two-goal deficit was a mountain too high to climb for a team that has had difficulty scoring goals. The Predators took another penalty four minutes into the third. JP Dumont was called for tripping and Tomas Holmstrom deflected a Niklas Lidstrom shot for the Red Wings. Two minutes later the Red Wings would score again to make it 5-1. Pekka Rinne was beat by Patrick Eaves.
With 10:29 left to play in the third, Kevin Klein made it a 3-goal game by scoring from the point on a pass from Shea Weber from behind the net. Then seconds later Colin Wilson had a shot off both posts that would have made it a two-goal game with 10 minutes left to play.
But no comeback was in the works Saturday night. The game ended by a 5-2 score. Chris Osgood picked up the win for the Red Wings.
Belak dressed as a defenseman, but saw no ice time.
Linus Klasen watch:
Klasen played 2:59 in the first period but only had one shift in the second period, with 22 seconds of ice time in the middle frame. Klassen was given more ice time in the third, playing 3 minutes in the third. Klasen played with Ward and Legwand for some of the third period. The Swede had no shots on goal but he did block a shot from Detroit.
Nashville doesn’t play again until Wednesday night when they visit Phoenix.
Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount. The Predators don’t play in Smashville again until November 13th when the defending Stanley Cup Champions visit Nashville for the first of three visits.