The Nashville Predators had to deal with an inferiority complex concerning the Detroit Red Wings over most of their history. Tuesday night was a chance to shake some of those demons.
The Nashville Predators had a solid performance on Monday night to get back in the winning column. There is no rest for the wicked though as Tuesday night meant a trip to Little Caesar’s Arena to face the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings pulled out a victory on Saturday night in front of the biggest crowd in Bridgestone Arena history, so you knew the Predators had to gain a measure of revenge tonight.
Play included some good back & forth action early. Detroit made good efforts against Juuse Saros, but it’s the Nashville Predartors striking first. Scott Hartnell tips in a Roman Josi blast at 4:18 in the first period. The play was reviewed afterwards because it’s tough to believe that the Predators would score this early, but it’s upheld.
The Red Wings attempted to respond but are met with the Saros wall. Kyle Turris puts it in the net at 9:35 and I don’t think there will be a review on this one! Predators took a 2-0 lead, and Josi & Craig Smith getting assists.
The Nashville Predators kept making charges on Jimmy Howard but he stood tall. Honestly, I’m just glad Detroit traded Petr Mrazek before this game, as he had the Predators’ number since entering the league. Detroit makes a charge, but Gustav Nyquist decides to trip Filip Forsberg and send the Predators on the power play for 1:30 of the second period.
The rest of the power play passes without incident. The Nashville Predators dominate ice time for much of the period. I feel like the Red Wings miss Joe Louis Arena much like the Pistons miss the Palace of Auburn Hills. The new arena is by all accounts very nice, but no one is going to it. The Preds make a breakaway & get denied, & the Red Wings make a breakaway in response & score at 10:12. Not ideal.
AA is Andreas Athanasiou if you’re scoring at home, or even if you’re alone. Dylan Larkin gets the assist. Not long enough after that, Alexei Emelin gets a penalty for concealing the puck. If he had at least run somebody over I would have been ok with it. Instead, Saros has to stand on his head for no real reason. He keeps doing it after the PP ends.
The Predators make some pushes late but end the period with a one-goal advantage. It’s been a Bizarro game for the Predators. Typically, they are bad in the first period & good in the second. Tonight, it’s the opposite. I have no idea what to expect in the third period.
Neither team gets much of an advantage early. Viktor Arvidsson comes out of nowhere to give the Nashville Predators a two-goal advantage at 4:50!
Ryan Ellis & P.K. Subban get assists. Why are they out there at the same time? Why not? Peter Laviolette is switching things up in the game, and with good reason. Austin Watson decides to commit goalie interference at 5:48 to make things interesting. The penalty kill unit holds the Red Wings off for a while, but it’s a matter of time before Saros gets knocked out of the net & Tomas Tatar gets a goal at the 7:54 mark. Peter Laviolette challenges for goalie interference, but I’m not sure there’s enough there to call it. There was a lot of nonsense going on down there, but I can see the argument for a goal. Sure enough, it’s 3-2.
The Red Wings are making some good charges & Ellis is heading to the locker room. That isn’t a good combination of events. He gets back to the bench & the Red Wings didn’t score any goals, so that’s nice. We head down to the stretch & nobody has timeouts. Howard exits the ice & there’s an empty net with just over two minutes left. The Red Wings make some drives with nothing going, but the refs call P.K. Subban for interference at 19:32. Frankly, the Wings baited him into that one & it should have been coincidental. The refs didn’t see it that way, and fortunately, it didn’t affect the outcome! Colton Sissons blocks a Tatar shot to end the game!
Steve’s Three Stars
Third Star: Juuse Saros
You have to love having two goalies that you have faith in. In years gone by, we would hold our breath on these occasions where Pekka Rinne wasn’t available & somebody else would have to stand in-goal for the second game. This season, we have a Juuse Saros that’s ready to take on anybody in his path. As great as Rinne has been this season, I don’t get worried when he isn’t in the crease. Saros had some work to do tonight to keep the Predators in front, and he took care of business.
Second Star: Roman Josi
The Captain manages to come up strong in games like this where the team needs a boost. He slapped a shot that Scott Hartnell made the first goal, and he assisted Kyle Turris later in the period to give the Predators a two-goal lead that proved insurmountable. Games like this show why you want Roman Josi as your captain for at least the next ten years.
First Star: Ryan Ellis
This fella went to the locker room to get some treatment & still had more minutes than anybody not named Roman Josi. If you wonder why it was a coin flip between these dudes to be captain, that’s why. Ellis got assists on the first goal & the last goal, and was a force throughout the game. He gets better with each game he plays, which is bad news for the teams the Nashville Predators will face in the playoffs.
The Nashville Predators head back to Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night to face a team they’ve had to deal with in a couple of playoff appearances. The San Jose Sharks will serve as the Predators’ next formidable opponent. Puck drop will be a bit after 8:00 PM ET/7:00 PM CT on Fox Sports Tennessee & 102.5 The Game.