After playing one of their worst games of the season on Monday against the Edmonton Oilers, the Nashville Predators traveled to Detroit and played a tremendous road game in their 4-1 victory over the Red Wings.
Coach Barry Trotz was clearly disgusted with Monday night’s effort and specifically called out David Legwand, Mart Erat, and Patric Hornqvist. All three responded with Erat and Legwand scoring goals in the opening period and Hornqvist having a team-high five shots and assisting on a power play goal by Sergei Kostitsyn.
Pekka Rinne stopped all but one of a barrage of 35 shots from Detroit. Jimmy Howard allowed four goals on 16 shots before being replaced by Joey MacDonald at 10:26 in the second period. MacDonald fared much better, stopping all 14 shots that he faced.
The Predators opened the scoring at 3:09 in the first period when Kostitsyn corralled the puck in the neutral zone, handed it off to Marcel Goc, who then set up Erat for an easy wrister that he drove off the pipe into the net to give the Preds an early 1-0 lead. Later in the opening period, at 14:13, Ryan Suter put a shot on net that Howard could not control and Legwand buried a shot from the edge of the left face off circle.
The second period was barely underway at 1:03 when the Preds dumped the puck deep and a forechecking Joel Ward nudged it to Jerred Smithson behind the net. Smithson found Colin Wilson crossing the crease and Wilson missed his first attempt but nailed the second to give the Predators a 3-0 lead.
At 10:26 in the second period, the Preds got a power play marker when Shea Weber fired a shot from the blue line that Hornqvist deflected and the rebound went to Kostitsyn who flipped it into the net from Howard’s left side to make it 4-0 Predators. That marked the end of the evening for Howard.
The Wings got a consolation goal from Ruslan Salei at 16:02 in the second period to ruin Rinne’s shot at back to back shutouts over Detroit.
So far this season, the Predators took two of the three games in Detroit and the only one that has been played in Nashville. The Predators are again back within five points of Detroit in the Central Division race.
The Predators will remain in fifth place in the Western Conference with 65 points, regardless of the outcome of other games in progress.
The Predators received a new injury in the game when Goc left at 15:05 in the first period and did not return with an upper body injury. Kevin Klein also missed a couple of shifts when he tool a puck to the face at 11:04 in the second.
The Predators returned to Nashville after the game and will prepared to face the Colorado Avalanche–and probably Peter Forsberg–Saturday night at the Bridgestone Arena.