Red Wings Fall to Predators in Howard's Return

Goaltender Jimmy Howard returned to the Red Wings lineup Friday night but Detroit couldn't hold off the Nashville Predators, dropping a 4-1 decision.

With the loss, Detroit falls to fifth place in the Western Conference standings, one point behind the fourth-place Predators, who have a game in hand.

After the first half of the game was scoreless, Nashville's Gabriel Bourque opened the scoring with 6:55 left in the second period. Bourque flipped a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle through traffic and past Howard to give the Predators the 1-0 lead.

Francis Bouillon made it 2-0 with just 33 seconds left in the period when he picked up a loose puck and snapped it past Howard after a net-front scramble.

At 2:40 of the third period, Alexander Radulov was left all alone at the top of the crease to take a feed from Andrei Kostitsyn and punch it past Howard.

Jiri Hudler scored Detroit's lone goal with 3:03 remaining, knocking the puck past Nashville golie Pekka Rinne from the side of the net on a pass from Henrik Zetterberg.

Shea Weber wrapped up the scoring with an empty-net goal in the game's final minute.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night, with Detroit having three chances and Nashville having two.

Howard made 23 saves on 26 shots against in his return from a groin injury. Rinne stopped 31 of 32 shots.

The Red Wings play again on Sunday when they host the Florida Panthers.


Notes: Detroit's healthy scratches were Kyle Quincey on defense and Jan Mursak up front.

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In a game with playoff implications, the Red Wings host the Nashville Predators tonight.

The two teams seem destined for a first-round matchup but the matter of who will have home ice is still up in the air. The Red Wings currently sit a single point up on the Predators, with Nashville having a game in hand.

Jimmy Howard returns to the Detroit crease after missing four more games with a groin injury. Jordan Pearce was sent back to the Grand Rapids Griffins yesterday, so Ty Conklin will be the backup.

On defense, Jakub Kindl is back in and Kyle Quincey will sit. Mike Babcock says the defense will rotate for the rest of the season now that all seven defensemen are healthy.

Up front, Gustav Nyquist remains in and Jan Mursak is the healthy scratch.

The Red Wings had an optional skate this morning, which drives me nuts. Either the entire team is too hurt to practice or they don't recognize that they have systemic problems they need to work on. The way I see it, they're losing games because of the system issues (special teams, especially) so they can either continue to do that and remain banged-up because the players who need to rest still have to play games, or they can bench everyone who's hurt so they all get healthy, play the kids from GR, and lose anyway. I like the chance to get healthy.

That's my rant for the day, likely to be repeated later.

Game time is 7:30 on FS+. I may not be around here for it but I will be watching.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 3/30/2012 at 5:58 PM

 

Well... The game has been pretty boring... And then they screw around a let a weak one go in. They should have been at said morning skate.

Posted by SYfanSD on 3/30/2012 at 8:57 PM

 

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this one. It was such a slow game from start to finish that I can't tell if the Wings were unprepared or they got outplayed or what.

It actually had the feeling of a Game One of a playoff series between two teams that don't know each other well. Where both teams kind of try to figure each other out and not make any major mistakes in the meantime. The problem for the Wings is that they made their mistakes but then never tried (or seemingly never tried) to open the game up.

I will admit that right now I have very little confidence in this team. Playing like they did tonight, they're out in the first round. Playing like they can play, they can go far, but we haven't seen that from them in awhile.

Posted by YzerFan19 on 3/30/2012 at 11:41 PM

 
Jimmy Howard

Jimmy Howard
Credit: Clark Rasmussen

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