In the first game of a home-and-home series, the Detroit Red Wings held off third-period pressure by the Nashville Predators to pick up a 5-2 win.
The win lifts the Red Wings to within one point of the Predators in the Central Division standings with one game in hand.
Nashville had four power play opportunities in the third period and converted on one of them.
Martin Erat scored for the Predators on a two-man advantage at 5:07 of the period. A Shea Weber blast from the blue line was stopped by Detroit goalie Chris Osgood but Erat got the rebound at the side of the net and put it in, pulling the Predators to within a goal.
Nashville wasn’t able to even things up and Detroit scored twice at the end of the period to seal the game.
Attempting to throw a pass across the top of the crease with 2:02 remaining, Kyle Calder scored when the puck deflected off the skate of Marek Zidlicky and over Nashville goaltender Tomas Vokoun’s shoulder.
Valtteri Filppula put the game away 41 seconds later after stealing the puck at the Detroit blue line with Vokoun on the way to the bench. Filppula raced in on the goal as Vokoun got back but the netminder never got settled and Filppula whipped a shot past him to make the final score 5-2.
The Red Wings opened the game’s scoring just 1:39 into the game when Robert Lang banged the puck through a crowd in front of the Nashville net and past Vokoun.
Rookie Alexander Radulov tied the game at 7:02, ripping a shot from the high slot past Osgood with Nashville on a power play.
Early in the second period, Kirk Maltby put Detroit back out in front. Filppula moved the puck into the Nashville zone and got it deep to Kris Draper, who moved behind the net and sent it out front to Maltby. Maltby lifted a shot over Vokoun at 4:30 to make it a 2-1 game.
Jiri Hudler extended the Detroit lead at 1:24 of the third, scoring on a one-timer off Vokoun’s glove from a pass by Calder.
Both of Nashville’s goals came on the power play, which they had eight chances with, including the two-on-one that led to Erat’s tally. Detroit was held scoreless on three chances with the extra attacker.
Osgood made 29 saves on 31 shots against, including key stops with the Predators threatening to pull even in the third. Vokoun stopped 25 of the 30 Detroit chances he faced.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow in Detroit.
The Predators lost Erat in the third period after a collision with teammate Jason Arnott.