A determined Nashville Predators team went into Joe Louis Arena and stole a 3-2 victory from the Detroit Red Wings behind solid defense and stellar goaltending performance by Anders Lindback.
Lindback saw a ton of rubber as the Wings fired 37 shots at the young Swede who played the best game in his short NHL career in his first time on the ice in Detroit.
The Predators got early goals from Colin Wilson and Marty Erat. The game winner came from J.P. Dumont late in the third period as the Preds never trailed in the game.
The Preds were limited to 10 shots in the final two periods by the always tough Wing defense and were able to hang on as Detroit really upped the stakes in the final period.
Detroit’s goals came from Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen. Datsyuk assisted on Franzen’s goal to have a two point night.
Wings goalie, Jimmy Howard did not have his best night, stopping 21 of 24 shots and was rarely tested in the second half of the game.
The Preds overcame their poor performance in the face off circle on Monday by taking 29 of 55 21 draws for a solid 53% game.
Both teams continued their strong play on the penalty kill as each were 0-4 on the power play. Datsyuk’s goal was shorthanded for the Wings.
The Predators started the game strong on the puck, out shooting the Wings 7-2 in the first six minutes of play. The Predators went on the first power play of the evening at 10:02 when Patrick Eaves was called for interference on Cody Franson. The Preds were unable to take advantage of the man advantage and had no shots.
The Predators continued their strong play and surprised everyone by scoring on a rush with 33 seconds left in the period to take a 1-0 lead. The play started with Steve Sullivan skating down Howard’s right and passed cross ice to Cal O’Reilly who drew the goalie and defensemen to the right side leaving Wilson open in front of the goal and he wristed it into the net.
The Preds startled everyone again 49 seconds int the second period when Sergei Kostitsyn shot from the right wall and the puck bounced out to Erat who knocked it into the net to give the Preds a 2-0 lead.
Shea Weber put the Wings on the Wings on the man advantage at 4:26 when he cross checked Darren Helm. The Wings were credited with two shots.
The Preds got a big scare at 8:55 when Nicklas Lidstrom fired a shot that got behind Lindback and touched the red line but was saved by Kevin Klein.
Marty Erat was hit directly in the face at 11:05 with the high stick of Tomas Holmstrom who was hit with a four minute double minor. The Predators never made a serious scare on the Wings net during their power play but the Wings scored short-handed at 13:04 when Datsyuk took a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and put it past Lindback who was far from the net.
Play was disjointed at both ends of the ice for the remainder of the period as the Preds and Wings swapped penalties with Wilson being called for high-sticking and Todd Bertuzzi being called for cross checking.
David Legwand left at 5:45 in the period with a lower body injury and would not return. Marty Erat did return for a shift after getting stitched up from the high stick.
The third period started with more uneven play. The Wings went on the power play at 6:05 when Jerred Smithson was called for holding Holmstom on a phantom call. The Preds were lucky to escape unscathed on the type of call that Detroit usually takes advantage of.
As the penalty expired, Erat was called for tripping Brad Stuart but with the delayed call play did not stop until 11:04. The Wings had three shots on the man advantage as Lindback made great saves on each shot.
J.P. Dumont surprised everyone in the building at 14:37 when he grabbed the puck and skated the lenghth of the ice to on the right side and put it in the net past Howard who was distracted by Kevin Klein who was crashing the net up the middle. The 3-1 lead was the cushion that the Preds would need.
As time wore down, the Wings pulled Howard at 1:45 and loaded up with bodies in front of the Preds’ net. Franzen fired a shot through traffic for his 13th goal of the year to bring the Wings within a goal at 3-2.
The Predators did a good job of keeping the puck away from the let as time wound down and sealed the win when Nick Spaling pushed the puck down the ice with his hand with five seconds remaining.
There was no word after the game on the extent of Legwand’s injury that he suffered in his first game back after missing nine games.
The Predators headed back to Nashville after the game where they will prepare for a three game in five night home stand that starts Saturday with Florida, the Islanders on Monday before the Sharks come to Music City on Wednesday of next week.