Wings Regain Series Lead: Joseph Holds Nashville to One Goal as Detroit Wins

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.

Joseph to Start Game Five

The Detroit Red Wings will turn to goaltender Curtis Joseph to help break them out of a two-game slide Thursday night, Red Wings head coach Dave Lewis announced on Wednesday. Manny Legace has started all four of Detroit’s playoff games thus far and is 2-2 in that time.

The Red Wings opened their first round series with the Nashville Predators with two home wins but followed that up with two losses on the road as the Predators evened the series. Joseph made his first appearance of the series in the third period of Game Four, replacing Legace after Nashville scored three goals on just 11 shots.

Joseph held the Predators scoreless on their remaining nine shots as the Red Wings lost.

Joseph was slated to be Detroit’s starting goaltender this season before Dominik Hasek‘s surprise return from retirement in July. Hasek’s return left Joseph on the trade block, but the Red Wings were unable to deal the veteran goaltender.

When Hasek suffered a groin injury in December, Joseph was called back into action. Hasek quit the season in February and Joseph was injured the next game. He spent most of the rest of the season injured and returned just in time for the start of the playoffs, at which point Legace had already established himself as the postseason starter.

Joseph is 0-4 in playoff appearances for the Red Wings, starting all four games as Detroit was swept by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the first round in 2003.