The Nashville Predators had been shut out more than any other team in the league coming into tonight’s game with the Detroit Red Wings. Now they’ve extended their lead in their dubious category after they couldn’t solve Jimmy Howard on home ice, suffering their ninth shutout loss of the season.
The second period was the real difference in the game. Detroit dominated the flow of the game and outshot Nashville 16-4 in the second. The Preds’ defense actually held up fairly well under the withering Detroit attack before Danny DeKeyser threw a shot wide to the right of Pekka Rinne that bounced straight to Henrik Zetterberg on the other side of a wide-open net for a 1-0 lead.
Nashville kept things close for most of the third period, but a bad turnover in their own zone gave Johan Franzen an easy goal for a 2-0 Detroit lead at 17:01 and an empty-netter at 18:41 sealed the result.
Filip Forsberg’s debut with the Nashville Predators was as good as anyone had a right to hope for, with two shots on goal in 18:37 of ice time. Sure, it would have been more storybook if he’d scored a goal, but he’s in it for the long haul. It’s good to see him play an NHL game on next to no rest after traveling halfway around the world and look like he belonged on the ice.
- Taylor Beck was on a line with Forsberg and David Legwand and was easily the most active Preds player throughout the game. Seven of Nashville’s 22 shots on net came off Beck’s stick. He was constantly trying to make something happen and it’s easy to see how effective he’s going to be a year or two down the line when he’s played with the same linemates for a while.
Pekka Rinne really looked outstanding tonight, stopping 31 of 33 shots the Red Wings threw at him. He was blameless for the two that he gave up, too. The first saw the puck pinball off the end boards straight onto Henrik Zetterberg’s waiting stick while Pekka played the initial shot by Danny DeKeyser, and the second saw Chris Mueller throw a blind pass directly to Johan Franzen, who had position on Shea Weber and lifted a perfect backhand shot to the top shelf.
- Jimmy Howard looked just as good even if he didn’t have to make as many saves as his Nashville counterpart. His work in the first period in particular made the win possible for Detroit, as did a big save on a Matt Halischuk shorthanded breakaway in the second.
- Bobby Butler did great work to draw a penalty shot midway through the game, but the puck slid off his stick as he closed in on Howard and the Detroit goalie didn’t have to make a save.
- With nine shutout losses and five shutout wins, exactly one-third of Nashville’s games this season have seen one team or the other fail to score a goal. Think that will cut down on the number of times NBC Sports Network pencils them into the schedule next season?
- This was Nashville’s sixth straight loss in regulation. Calgary and Colorado are both within striking distance of Nashville and both teams have games in hand. It’s not exactly something to cheer for, but finishing last in the Western Conference would certainly bolster Nashville’s chances of landing the top pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.