Jimmy Howard kept it cool for his first shutout. (PHOTO: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

Detroit Red Wings 4, Nashville Predators 0: Jimmy Howard Blanks Preds For First Shutout

If the Nashville Predators know how to play much worse, I hope they keep it to themselves. Their loss tonight to the Detroit Red Wings was downright painful.

Just like they did on Friday against the Vancouver Canucks, the Preds came out and dominated play in the first period. And just like in that game, they couldn’t put the puck in net. Jimmy Howard, who came into the game with a 3.08 GAA and .896 save percentage, played like he was Pekka Rinne and turned away all 12 shots he faced.

Rinne gave up a goal to Drew Miller at 5:11 for a 1-0 Red Wings lead. He looked good through the first, but in the second and third periods he looked more like Jimmy Howard playing behind a scrambling, inexperienced defense. Goals from Tomas Tatar, Niklas Kronwall, and Dan Cleary completed a rout of a Nashville team that looked completely lost for the last 40 minutes of the game.

What else is there to say that hasn’t been said the other four times teams earned a shutout against the Nashville Predators this season? Not much.

Some observations:

  • Managing the goaltending situation is proving to be a big challenge for Barry Trotz this season. Chris Mason could have started tonight with Rinne having played the previous night, but Trotz went with Pekka instead. As bad as Nashville looked, they probably wish they had given him an extra day of rest for Monday’s game against Dallas.
  • I said earlier this week I expected a split in the two games with Detroit. But for the second loss to be via shutout? That hurts.
  • The Preds have lost six games in regulation this season. Five of them have been via shutout, and two of those have been this week. There are some serious underlying issues right now. I’m not sure what David Poile‘s plan is, but I don’t expect much given that his biggest moves this season have been to acquire Rich Clune and to trade AHL players with the Blues.
  • The Nashville Predators outshot Detroit 33-27 tonight. They’ve now lost every game this season when they’ve outshot their opponents.
  • Hal Gill left the game with a lower-body injury in the second period and did not return.

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Tags: Detroit Red Wings Nashville Predators

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