By Amanda DiPaolo
The Predators organization is known for developing strong goaltenders out of their net minding prospects. If a record of 4-1-2 prior to Wednesday night’s game wasn’t enough evidence to think Lindback was the real deal, his performance Wednesday night, and record of 5-1-2, should do the trick. Lindback saw 37 shots, saving all but two to help lift the Predators past the Detroit Red Wings 3-2.
Nashville scored in the last minute of the first period and the first minute of the second period to gain a 2-0 lead. Johan Franzen turned over the puck just inside the Predators’ blue line, resulting in Colin Wilson’s sixth goal of the season was scored with only 32 seconds left in the opening frame. Wilson tapped in a pass from O’Reilly into the open net.
At the 49 second mark to start the middle frame, Marty Erat scored his third of the season when he tipped in a Marcel Goc shot from the slot. Sergei Kostitsyn picked up an assist.
At 11:02 of the second period, it had looked like Detroit had all but scored when the puck beat Lindback and was rushing towards the goal line. Kevin Klein was behind Lindback and was able to save the puck from crossing over the line, tucking it safely in the pads of the Predators netminder. Klein saved a goal. Since Nashville won the game 3-2, it could be said that Klein saved the Predators a point, or at least took one away from Detroit. This, after Monday, when Klein had been blamed for losing Nashville a point in overtime in Atlanta when he lost his stick and ultimately the puck that lead to the Bogosian goal.
Three seconds after play resumed, Marty Erat took a Tomas Holmstrom stick to the face. Erat was bleeding so Nashville was on the power play for four minutes with Holmstrom assessed a double minor. But it wasn’t the Predators who would score on the power play.
Pavel Datsyuk scored during Nashville’s man advantage with 6:56 left in the second period to make it 2-1. It was his ninth goal of the season, third this year against the Predators. Datsyuk scored on his own rebound. With momentum now with the Wings, Nashville was able to hold off a game-tying goal by killing off a Colin Wilson high sticking call and by not allowing another shorthanded goal to end the period when Todd Bertuzzi was sent to the box for cross checking.
Detroit was offered a couple of power play opportunities in the third to find the game-tying goal when Jerred Smithson and Marty Erat both saw time in the box, but it was J.P. Dumont who scored, extending the Predators lead to 3-1 lead with only 5:23 left in regulation on a wrist shot from the right circle. The play was a 2 on 1 with Klein rushing the net. Dumont played less than any other Predator, seeing only 7:23 of ice time.
With Jimmy Howard out of the net, Franzen cut the lead to a goal with 1:33 remaining in regulation, but the Red Wings were unable to find the equalizer before time ran out.
Nashville killed off all four of its penalties, making the Predators penalty kill successful 39 out of their last 40 attempts. Klein and Shane O’Brien led the charge on defense playing over 5 minutes on the penalty kill. Nick Spaling and Jerred Smithson each played over four minutes short handed. Nashville’s top defensive pair of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter played just under two minutes short handed.
On the injury front, David Legwand returned to the game only to leave it after playing only 9 minutes with what was described as a lower body injury. Nashville doesn’t practice today, so more won’t be known until Friday morning.
The loss was only the third loss on home ice in regulation this season for the Red Wings, but it was also their third loss in a row. After the win, Nashville is sitting in a four-way tie for fifth place in the Western Conference, only two points back of Chicago in fourth and five points back from the Western Conference leading Wings. Nashville has now collected points in its last six games. Next up, the Predators return home for three games including the Panthers on Saturday, Islanders on Monday and the San Jose Sharks next Wednesday.
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. Come see Nashville former netminder Tomas Vokoun The next Predators home game is Saturday when the Florida Panthers come to town.