NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Hockey statisticians will often note that the Red Wings have more third period goals than any other team in the NHL. This game, however, it was the second period which was the most fruitful for Detroit. The Wings scored three goals within 5:16 early in the second to lead to a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators.
The game started out choppy, full of starts and stops, icings, and offside calls. With such a lack of flow to the game, it was hard for either team to get any offensive plays set up. Manny Legace was called upon to make some good saves against Scott Hartnell and Scott Walker, while at the other end of the ice, Tomas Vokoun held off Ray Whitney and Steve Yzerman.
Brett Hull opened the scoring 1:01 into the second. Kimmo Timonen attempted to clear the puck away from the front of his own net, but the puck landed right on Hull's stick. It was a simple matter for Hull to flip the puck into the net.
Brendan Shanahan increased the lead a minute and a half later. Henrik Zetterberg looked as if he were going to carry the puck all the way around the net, thus luring Vokoun to his right side. At the last second, Zetterberg centered the puck for Shanahan, and Shanahan put it into the wide open net.
Kirk Maltby's hard wrist shot off a nifty drop pass from Kris Draper beat Vokoun low, and Vokoun's night was over. Chris Mason came in to take his place.
Nashville got on the scoreboard late in the second with a shorthanded tally. Walker picked up a clearing pass and carried it into Detroit's zone, trying to push his way between Whitney and Jason Woolley. All three skaters fell to the ice. Wyatt Smith was trailing the play, and he was able to get to the loose puck and put it high over Legace.
The Predators turned up the pressure after they got their first goal, but the Red Wings were able to hold on and shut them down for the rest of the game.
Pavel Datsyuk finished off the scoring with an empty net goal with 13.5 seconds left in the third.
Detroit outshot Nashville by a count of 26 to 24. Both teams were 0 for 3 on the power play.
The Red Wings' next game will be their much-anticipated first meeting of the season against the Colorado Avalanche, Thursday night in Denver.
Notes: Shanahan's goal was the 95th game-winning goal of his career"¦. The last time Nashville had pulled their goalie in a home game was March 20, 2003.