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.

Wings’ Trade Deadline Recap

The 2012 NHL Trade Deadline may not have brought what Red Wings fans wanted but that doesn’t mean the Wings made the wrong moves.

As far back as last summer, fans were salivating over the idea of having virtually unlimited cap space at the trade deadline. With over $22 million available to spend, there would be no player Ken Holland would be unable to afford. After years of Detroit being unable to add a significant piece on the final day of NHL trading, the shoe would be on the other foot.

And then nothing happened.

With cap space to spend, Holland couldn’t find any trading partners. Unlike in previous years, there were no superstars on non-playoff teams in the last year of their contract to be had as rentals. No Ilya Kovalchuk, no Marian Hossa.

The Washington Capitals weren’t set to trade Alexander Semin, the New Jersey Devils had already stated they wouldn’t move Zach Parise and the surging Anaheim Ducks weren’t going to give up Teemu Selanne.

With those options unavailable, the Red Wings stuck to smaller moves. In two deals with the Tampa Bay Lightning, one last week and one today, Holland turned Mike Commodore, Sebastien Piche and a first round pick into Kyle Quincey and a conditional seventh-rounder. It’s an upgrade at the blue line with the potential to be more than a rental, as Holland has already stated that the Wings will at least tender Quincey a restricted free agent qualifying offer.

Detroit’s rivals made more moves, notably the Nashville Predators.

The Predators had acquired Hal Gill on February 17, then added Andrei Kostitsyn and Paul Gaustad up front today. They paid a hefty price, giving up Blake Geoffrion, a first-round pick, and two second-rounders.

In essence, Nashville paid as much for fourth-line, free agent forward Gaustad – a rental – as the Red Wings did for restricted free agent defenseman Quincey – a non-rental.

So I’m okay with Holland standing pat. I would have liked a move for a depth forward; I’d been thinking former Wing Mike Knuble could be a good fit for cheap but as he wasn’t moved at the deadline, I have to think either he wasn’t available or the Capitals were asking too much from everyone.

I’m also not going to lie – I am concerned that Nashville, Chicago, Vancouver and San Jose all added players while the Red Wings didn’t. Those teams got better and got deeper. The Red Wings got better but are not a deep team.

That last note will be proven tomorrow in Columbus. Jonathan Ericsson is already out with a broken ankle and now Quincey has a sore groin. Brendan Smith has been called up and will be in the lineup, along with Jakub Kindl. Another defensive call-up could be necessary if Nicklas Lidstrom, who didn’t practice today, can’t go.

Or maybe these late-season injuries will prove the depth the team can call on from Grand Rapids and show that a trade wasn’t necessary.