Friday, March 30, 2012

Predators move into fourth in the West with 4-1 win over Detroit

The Nashville Predators headed into Joe Louis Arena on Friday night and stole a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings, which was only the Wings' sixth loss on home ice of the year. The victory was Barry Trotz's 500 NHL win and could not have come at a better time.

The victory gave Nashville 98 points and moved them a point ahead of Detroit in the race for fourth place, and home ice advantage, in the Western Conference and the looming showdown between the two squads in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Alexander Radulov scored a goal and picked up an assist to lead Predator scorers and show why the Preds were patient waiting for his return. The other goals came from Gabriel Bourque, the unlikely, Frankie Bouillon, and an empty netter from Shea Weber.

Jiri Hudler spoiled the shutout with a late goal as the only scorer for Detroit.

Pekka Rinne picked up his NHL leading 42nd win, stopping 31 of 32 Red Wing shots. Jimmy Howard took the loss and gave up three goals on 26 Predator shots.

The Predators returned home to play Chicago on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena where they hope to put more distance between them and the sixth place Blackhawks.

Make the jump for more detail from the game...

At The Puck Drop...

In Goal: Pekka Rinne (41-17-8, 2.42 .922) versus Jimmy Howard (33-15-3, 2.15 .920).

Scratches: Predators - Craig Smith, Brandon Yip, Brian McGrattan, Colin Wilson, Jack Hillen, Ryan Ellis and Jack MacLellan. Red Wings - Kyle Quincey, Jan Mursak, Darren Helm, and Joey MacDonald.

First Period...

The Predators went on the man-advantage early, 43 seconds into the contest when Todd Bertuzzi was called for tripping Patric Hornqvist. The Preds got one shot on the power play and extended the pressure with two more on the same sequence after the penalty expired.

At 10:22, there was a scuffle between Hornqvist and Johan Franzen that drew in Bertuzzi and Ryan Suter for some secondary action in the tussle. No penalties were accessed but it showed the intensity of the rivalry.

Both teams had chances as the period wound down and the level of play was near playoff level for both squads.

1st Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        0        9        18       0-0:00 7-15  32%
Red Wings           0        7        15       1-2:00 15-7  68%

Second Period...

Paul Gaustad was called for tripping Justin Abdelkader at 5:42 to give the Wings their first shot on the power play. Detroit managed four shots on the man-advantage and several good scoring chances including a post from Nick Lidstrom.

Jordin Tootoo sparked a play that resulted in the first goal of the game when he skated a big loop behind the net, lost the puck at the blue line, and then passed it to Bourque who scored from the slot to give the Preds a 1-0 lead at 13:05. Hal Gill received the secondary assists.

Nick Spaling was called for hooking Pavel Datsyuk at 14:04. The Wings applied plenty of pressure and got three shots on the man advantage.

The Preds went back on the penalty kill at 16:24 when the Preds were called for too many men on the ice. The Wings had five shots on the man advantage highlighted by a point blank save by Rinne on Henrik Zetterberg at 16:59.

After all the penalty kills, the Preds applied plenty of pressure in a broken play and got the second goal from Bouillon in three games as he picked up a rebound and flipped it past Howard to give the Preds a 2-0 lead. Alex Radulov was given the lone assist.

2nd Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        2         8        16     3-6:00 12-13 48%
Red Wings          0        17        34     1-0:00 13-12 52%

Third Period...

Radulov scored his 100th career point on a play that was set up on a wrap-around pass from Andrei Kostitsyn. The goal put the Preds up 3-0 with 17:20 left in the game. Pekka Rinne picked up an assist on the play to give him five points on the season to lead all NHL goalies.

The Predators went on their second power play of the game at when Jakub Kindl was called for interfering with Hornqvist at 10:38.

Hudler broke up Rinne's shutout at 16:57 when Zetterberg fed a perfect pass to him that gave him the goal to make the score 3-1.

Weber picked up the empty netter at 19:30 after Howard had been pulled to bring the final score to 4-1 and even the season series record between the Preds and Wings at 3-3.

3rd  Period       Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        2        10        13       0-0:00  8-8  50%
Red Wings        1         8        12       1-2:00  8-8  50%


Final     Goals            Shots          Corsi            PIMs         Faceoffs  
Predators        4        27        47       3-6:00 27-36 43%
Red Wings        1        32        61       2-4:00 36-27 57%

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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