Making his first start of the postseason, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Curtis Joseph stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced as Detroit defeated the Nashville Predators, 4-1. With the win, the Red Wings gain a 3-2 series lead heading into Game Six.
After dropping two games in Nashville and losing their lead in the series, the Red Wings looked to bounce back early and send the Predators a message. With three goals in the first period, they did just that.
Henrik Zetterberg’s first goal of the series put the Red Wings on the board just 3:19 into the game. Pavel Datsyuk fought off a check behind the Nashville goal and got to the puck. He sent a between-the-legs pass to Zetterberg skating through the left faceoff circle. Zetterberg, left all alone at the top of the crease, out-waited Predators’ netminder Tomas Vokoun and lifted a shot over him and into the net.
Brett Hull’s second goal of the postseason came 3:03 later. Along the left-side boards, Datsyuk sent another no-look pass across the ice to Hull, streaking through the slot towards the net. Hull put a quick shot past Vokoun and the Red Wings were up by two.
Brendan Shanahan broke his scoring slump with 6:42 remaining in the period. Shorthanded, Steve Yzerman fought for the puck behind the Nashville net. Shanahan came to help him and got the puck. From behind the goal line, Shanahan banked a shot off the skate of Predators’ defenseman Dan Hamhuis. The puck barely trickled over the goal line to give Detroit a three-goal lead.
The Red Wings second power play goal of the series would come in the second period off the stick of defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. At 9:25 of the period, Lidstrom fired a shot from the left point that went by the screened Vokoun to put Detroit up by four and cap their scoring for the night.
With 38 seconds remaining in the period, Sergei Zholtok scored the lone goal for the Predators. While on the power play, Zholtok fired a shot from the left faceoff dot Joseph didn’t have a chance to stop, as he was being screened by Scott Hartnell.
The Red Wings clamped down on the Predators defensively in the third period, allowing them only six shots.
Vokoun, the MVP of both games played in Nashville, allowed Detroit’s four goals on 31 shots.
The Red Wings have the chance to eliminate the Predators from the playoffs in Game Six Saturday afternoon in Nashville. Game time is 3:00 PM.