Ahh, where to begin after this one?
I’m not sure if we can call it the good, since it didn’t lead to anything, but we’ll start with the first two periods where the Red Wings were dominating the Predators. It was fantastic to see Detroit playing their game and felt like it was just a matter of time before they got a goal playing the way they were.
But at the same time, you kind of had the feeling they wouldn’t be able to keep it up. That either they’d make a mistake or Nashville would wake up. Or the calls that they were suddenly getting would stop coming.
Right off the bat, they needed one of those calls in the third. From the side of the net, the puck somehow trickles in off of Jimmy Howard. He really should have had it, I’m not even sure how it got through him right now, but the Wings actually benefit from an “intent to blow” play and the goal doesn’t count.
Rather than come out jumping after that bit of luck, the Wings were completely back on their heels, then they left Gabriel Bourque wide open in front of the net to take a feed that bounced off a skate on its way to him and put it past Howard.
The Red Wings finally converted on a power play to tie things up. We’re back to the good here, as it was a fantastic shot from the blue line by Niklas Kronwall nicely tipped in front by Jiri Hudler.
And just as quickly, we’re back to the awful. Nashville’s second goal was just a disgraceful effort by Detroit. Martin Erat takes the puck into the corner and three Red Wings follow him there, with Jimmy Howard also over-committing in that direction, leaving both Patrick Hornqvist and Kevin Klein wide open. Erat fed Klein for a shot into the open net.
Nashville’s third goal? Another WTF moment. Danny Cleary carries the puck up from behind the net but David Legwand pokes it away at the edge of the crease and it just goes through Howard, who never reacts to it. Cleary has to protect the puck there but Howard didn’t even look awake. Maybe he was thinking ahead to getting out of the net as Cleary cleared the zone. Whatever the reason, it was an awful mental mistake.
So now Detroit is a game from elimination, having lost both games at home after having the league’s best home record all year. I do think this team can come back and win this series but I don’t think they’re going to. The Predators have been too good and the Wings have been unable to sort out their own problems. That said, I thought that against San Jose last year and Detroit made a hell of a series out of it.