By Amanda DiPaolo
The Nashville Predators got back into the win column on Wednesday night when they beat Detroit 4-1 at Joe Louis Arena.
It didn’t take long for the Predators to get on the scoreboard. At 3:09 of the opening frame, Sergei Kostitsyn passed the puck to Marcel Goc just before Goc crossed the blue line. Goc found Martin Erat going to the net. Erat sent a wrist shot over the shoulder of Jimmy Howard on the glove side to make it 1-0 Predators. It was Erat’s eighth goal of the season.
Just over 7 minutes later, with 10:43 left in the first period, Nashville had an excellent opportunity to take a 2-0 lead. Niklas Kronwall fanned on a clearing attempt and the puck was taken by Colin Wilson who walked in all alone on Howard, but the Red Wings goaltender made the save.
The Predators would take a 2-0 first period lead when David Legwand netted his eighth goal of the season at 14:13 into the first period. From the corner, Legwand passed the puck to Ryan Suter at the point and then rushed to the net. Suter took the shot on goal and Legwand scored on the rebound, putting the puck into the empty net, glove side of Howard who was out of position.
With only four shots on goal in 14 minutes of play, Nashville had two goals.
Goc left the game towards the end of the first period and did not return with an upper body injury.
Nashville started the second period much like the played in the first, with a goal. Wilson notched his 13th of the season just 1:03 into the middle frame. Joel Ward, behind the net, got the puck over to Jerred Smithson, also along the boards behind Howard. Smithson found Wilson in front of the Detroit net and behind the Red Wings defense. Wilson’s shot beat Howard making the game 3-0.
Nashville made it 4-0 with a power play goal. Sergei Kostitsyn scored with Jakub Kindl in the box for hooking Erat. Shea Weber took a shot from the point and Kostitsyn banked in the rebound. It was Kostitsyn’s 15th goal of the season.
After the fourth goal, Joey MacDonald replaced Jimmy Howard in goal for Detroit. MacDonald was in net on Saturday night when the Predators shut out Detroit 3-0.
Detroit finally got on the scoreboard with 3:58 left to play in the second period. Todd Bertuzzi tripped Kevin Klein but there was no call on the play. Because he was tripped, Klein was unable to defend Zetterberg from getting the puck over to Ruslan Salei who beat Rinne and picked up his first goal of the season.
There was no scoring in the third period, though each team did have its chances.
With 5 minutes off the clock, Rinne, pinned down by Bertuzzi, was out of position. Kronwall had an open net to shoot at and missed, preserving the three goal lead.
Seconds later, Predators defenseman Shane O’Brien shot the puck from the point, beating MacDonald but the puck was just sitting behind the goalie never crossing the goal line. No one was there to knock in the loose puck for Nashville.
The Predators were called for three minor penalties but the third best penalty kill in the League went to work and did not allow Detroit to capitalize on the man advantage.
Pekka Rinne made 34 saves in Nashville’s 4-1 thumping of the Red Wings.
Rinne now has an impressive 7-2-2 all-time record against the Red Wings. Nashville leads the season series 3-1 and play Detroit two more times, both at Bridgestone Arena, before the end of the regular season.
Nashville has two days off before returning to action on Saturday night, at home, against the Colorado Avalanche. Assuming his visa related issues are cleared up by then, it is expected that Peter Forsberg will be in the lineup for Colorado.
Game time is 7 pm and tickets are still available.
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.