Red Wings Fall Behind in Series with Loss to Predators

A late goal by Henrik Zetterberg wasn’t enough for the Detroit Red Wings to get out of a hole they dug for themselves early, as they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Nashville Predators in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series between the two teams.

The Predators took a 2-1 lead in the series with the win, regaining the home-ice advantage that Detroit had taken with their Game Two win in Nashville.

Nashville opened the game’s scoring just 2:48 into the game, with Detroit forward Drew Miller off for goaltender interference. Andrei Kostitsyn knocked a shot in on Red Wings’ netminder Jimmy Howard from the low slot, then pushed defenseman Brad Stuart into the crease. Howard made the stop but couldn’t get in position to pick up the rebound chance by Shea Weber.

The Predators extended the lead at 3:50 of the second period. Kevin Klein broke through the Detroit defense and got in on Howard while being hooked by Stuart, snapping a shot over Howard’s glove to make it 2-0.

Pavel Datsyuk got the Red Wings on the board with 4:57 left in the middle period. Datsyuk stripped the puck from Roman Josi behind the Nashville net and snuck it in around goalie Pekka Rinne‘s pad.

Nashville regained the two-goal lead with 3:30 left in the third period. After the Red Wings kept up pressure for most of the period, the Predators finally took advantage of a Niklas Kronwall pinch and got an odd-man rush that saw Sergei Kostitsyn snap a shot past Howard.

Zetterberg closed out the game’s scoring, snapping a shot from the right circle past Rinne with the Red Wings skating six-on-five.

The Zetterberg goal was Detroit’s lone power play marker, while Weber’s was the only one for Nashville. Each team had four tries with the extra attacker.

Rinne stopped 41 of 43 shots in the win. Howard made 19 saves on 22 shots.

The two teams will meet for Game Four in Detroit on Tuesday.


The Red Wings thought they had tied the game in the final second of the second period, when Johan Franzen knocked home a rebound chance from the slot but replay showed that time expired before the puck crossed the goal line.

Postgame: Predators @ Red Wings – Game 3 – 4/15

I wish I could say this was unexpected but there’s just too much of a script that the Red Wings seem to follow for afternoon games. I’ve dug up the numbers on losses in the afternoon before but this is more than just a loss. It’s a slow start with stupid penalties (whether or not they were deserved or evenly-called), then a furious rally that falls short.

Oh, this time there was the added twist of the Johan Franzen goal that didn’t count as the second period closed. That was the right call, clearly the clock had hit zero, but as I mentioned at the time, there should have been an extra second or so on the clock in the first place.

We saw in LA earlier this year that the NHL admitted they need to watch the clock better at the end of the game, but what about the end of the period? How far from the end of the period? No one wants the clock to be questioned on every stoppage but where do you draw the line between when it’s important and when it’s not? If that faceoff was the end of the third and not the end of the second, they might have reset the clock, in which case the goal would have counted.

But, for the Wings, it comes back to how ridiculous it is that they needed that goal. If they had actually shown some effort in the first, no one would be talking about that one.

What I said before Game Two kind of applies here. The business-like approach Detroit uses is great when they’re winning. When they lose, fans want to see some emotion. We didn’t have emotion today. Even in the postgame interviews, Barry Trotz is complaining about traffic in the crease and goalie interference but Mike Babcock is talking about not getting the bounces.

Yeah, the Wings didn’t get the breaks again but for half the game, they didn’t play like they deserved them. Don’t talk about the breaks when you didn’t create any chances.

So the home-ice advantage they earned in Game Two is down the tubes, the Wings need a Game Four win just to avoid an elimination game in Game Five. I know they can do it, it just depends on which Detroit team we see on Tuesday.

Red Wings Get Even with Predators in 3-2 Win

The Detroit Red Wings evened things up with the Nashville Predators in more ways than one during a 3-2 win Friday night.

The Western Conference Quarterfinal series between the two teams now sits at 1-1 as it shifts to Detroit for Game Three on Sunday, with the Predators having taken Game One on Wednesday.

In addition to tying the series up, the Red Wings got back at Nashville captain Shea Weber. Weber ended the opening game of the series by slamming Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg‘s head into the glass. In Game Two, Todd Bertuzzi fought Weber just 1:36 in.

Ian White gave Detroit its first lead of the series at 8:25 of the opening period. White walked the puck in from the right point to the top of the right faceoff circle and snapped a shot past Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne to make it 1-0.

With 4:27 left in the period, Cory Emmerton made it 2-0 for the Red Wings. Emmerton blocked a shot in the Detroit end and gathered up the puck for a two-on-one down the ice with Gustav Nyquist. After defenseman Roman Josi dropped to the ice to block the passing lane, Emmerton fired a shot from the left circle over Rinne’s shoulder.

The Predators pulled back to within a goal at 9:01 of the second, when Andrei Kostitsyn was left alone in the slot. He took a feed from Alexander Radulov and flung the puck past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to make it 2-1.

Detroit regained the two-goal lead just 56 seconds later, when a Brad Stuart shot from the left circle tipped off Johan Franzen in front of the net and in behind Rinne to make it 3-1.

The Predators would pressure late but could only manage one more goal, with Weber backhanding a shot from the slot past Howard with 4:44 remaining.

Howard finished the night with 24 saves on 26 shots. Rinne made 14 saves on the 17 shots he faced.

Neither team scored a power play goal on the night. Detroit had two tries with the extra attacker while the Predators had six power plays, including 30 secons of five-on-three.

The teams will meet in Game Three in Detroit on Sunday.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Predators – Game 2 – 4/13

I wasn’t near a computer at all tonight but I saw the whole game, so I’ll be going from memory for my postgame notes since I didn’t write anything during the game.

I was proven wrong about a lot of things tonight. I was absolutely certain that the Red Wings wouldn’t physically respond to Shea Weber after he rammed Henrik Zetterberg‘s head into the glass to close out Game One on Wednesday. Instead, we had Todd Bertuzzi going toe-to-toe with him just 1:36 in.

I’ve been complaining about Brad Stuart and Johan Franzen and Cory Emmerton. Emmerton snipes one past Pekka Rinne to make it 2-0 and then it’s Stuart’s shot that deflects off Franzen to make it 3-1.

And how about that third Detroit goal? After the bounces went in Nashville’s favor in Game One, the Wings got them in Game Two. That’s something I was right about, that if you replayed Game One with the bounces going the other way, it’s a Detroit win.

The Wings made closer than they needed to. The second Nashville goal late in the third period didn’t need to happen, it was entirely because Detroit stopped trying to move the puck and started skating in circles. And I did call that Weber would get a third-period goal (though the full prediction was that it would be on a power play caused by a Tomas Holmstrom goalie interference call that negated a Detroit goal).

Much like Game One, the Red Wings played a very solid game. They started to slip in the final minutes but overall, they earned this one.

Jimmy Howard has been outstanding this series. He’s outplaying Rinne, which I’m not sure a lot of non-Wings partisans would have expected on Monday.

The win gives Detroit home ice in a five-game series. Huge for the team with the best home record in the NHL, but they can’t let up just because they’re coming home.

Helm Injured as Red Wings Fall to Predators in Game One

Detroit forward Darren Helm returned from injury only to suffer a new one, leaving Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup between the Red Wings and the Nashville Predators before the Predators earned a 3-2 win.

Helm missed the final ten games of the regular season with a sprained MCL. Tuesday’s playoff opener was his first game back but he cut his forearm on Andrei Kostitsyn’s skate in the first period and immediately left the ice.

He was taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center for unspecified surgery during the game. Detroit head coach Mike Babcock would later say “We don’t know to what extent or how severe, if any tendons or anything were cut we don’t know but it was pretty severe.”

The Predators were already up by a goal when the injury happened. At 6:59 of the period, Paul Gaustad threw the puck from the left corner to the front of the Detroit net, where it deflected off defenseman Brad Stuart and past goalie Jimmy Howard to make it 1-0.

Detroit got on the board at 2:29 of the second period. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne knocked aside a Niklas Kronwall shot from the blue line but Henrik Zetterberg got to the loose puck and knocked it in behind Rinne for a power play goal.

The Predators regained the lead with 7:31 to go in the second when Matt Halischuk‘s long shot deflected off the outstretched stick of Gabriel Bourque and floated past Howard.

Bourque added another with 8:25 left in regulation, snapping a shot over Howard’s glove after he was left all alone in the slot.

Tomas Holmstrom knocked home a loose puck from the edge of the crease on a power play with 2:07 remaining to make it 3-2 but the Red Wings would be unable to tie it, even with a late six-on-four manpower advantage.

The Red Wings finished the night with two goals on eight chances with the extra attacker. Nashville was scoreless in six power play tries.

Howard finished the night with 23 saves on 26 shots while Rinne stopped 35 of 37 shots.

In the closing seconds of the game, Nashville captain Shea Weber grabbed Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg by the sides of his head and slammed his face into the glass, earning a two-minute roughing penalty. The NHL has yet to announce whether they will review the play for a possible additional penalty.

Game Two between the teams will be Friday night.


The Red Wings scratched forwards Gustav Nyquist, Jan Mursak, Chris Conner and the injured Patrick Eaves, defenseman Jakub Kindl, and goalie Joey MacDonald.

Postgame: Red Wings @ Predators – Game 1 – 4/11

I want to start off with the end of the game and Shea Weber‘s manhandling of Henrik Zetterberg, but I still can’t find the words for that.

It was just such a stupid play by a player who’s good enough not to need to do that. It was so blatant and has no place in the game, but #BecauseItsTheCup I don’t have any faith in the NHL to deliver an appropriate punishment.

Speaking of punishment… I had the FSD feed so I didn’t see Mike Babcock‘s in-game interview but I saw that he criticized the officiating, basically saying they were calling things just to get noticed by Gary Bettman, who was in the arena for Game One. Will he be fined for it? If so, TPL and I are already talking about a HockeyRodent-like fundraiser to cover the cost.

I just posted the question of whether or not a better-officiated game would have prevented Weber’s actions. I personally don’t think it would have, as we’ve seen many times that players aren’t afraid to take a penalty in the final seconds because it won’t actually hurt their team. In Weber’s case, if a penalty had been called it would have been at 20:00, with no time on the clock for the Wings to do anything with it. He wasn’t taking advantage of a poorly-officiated game, he would have done that anyway.

As for the rest of the game…

This could have gone Detroit’s way, so it’s disappointing that it didn’t. That said, they didn’t learn from what worked for them so they kind of deserved to lose.

Two of Nashville’s three goals were incredible luck that the Red Wings couldn’t duplicate. Those breaks happen, can’t do anything about it. That said, both of Detroit’s goals were scored by getting bodies around the net and knocking in a rebound, yet the team seemed afraid to throw the puck at the net and see what happened. They spent too much time looking for the perfect play. Unfortunately, that’s a common issue for the Wings.

Also unfortunate, the injury to Darren Helm in the first period. He caught a skate to his arm in what looked like a play very similar to what injured Mike Modano last season. He reportedly had surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center, so if it is indeed like Modano, he’s out for the playoffs.

With Helm back out, it would appear that Gustav Nyquist will jump back into the Wings’ lineup. I have to imagine that Justin Abdelkader slides back up to third line center, with Cory Emmerton taking over centering the fourth line and Nyquist taking Emmerton’s spot on fourth-line wing. I wish the Wings could swap Emmerton for Chris Conner but they’ll want a natural center on that line so I don’t see that switch happening. I’m told that Conner did play center at Michigan Tech but I don’t think that’ll be enough.

If the Wings can get the bounces that Nashville got tonight in Game Two, or at least prevent the Predators from getting them, while still playing just as good of a game, they’re going to get a win. If the Wings can win Game Two, it becomes a five-game series with Detroit having home ice. Pressure is still on Nashville here but a win for the Wings tonight would have bought them a lot of breathing space that they don’t have now.

Red Wings Lose Helm for Playoffs

The Detroit Red Wings announced on Thursday that center Darren Helm will miss the remainder of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Helm underwent successful sugery at Vanderbilt Medical Center on Wednesday night, repairing lacerated tendons in his right forearm. The injury was suffered midway through the first period of Game One of Detroit’s Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup with the Nashville Predators, when Nashville forward Alexander Radulov‘s skate came up and caught Helm’s arm.

He is expected to make a full recovery in time for the team’s 2012 training camp in the fall.

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