NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis came out of the penalty box, saw a loose puck and turned it into the first game-winning goal of his career.
Hamhuis scored at 8:33 of the third period and Tomas Vokoun stopped 21 shots Saturday night as the Predators snapped a five-game winless skid by beating Detroit 1-0. The Predators are undefeated against Detroit this season, improving to 3-0 over the Western Conference's best team.
"I just came down the middle of the ice to support and play defense," Hamhuis said.
"The puck squirted out. I noticed that their one defenseman was down, so it's a two-on-one with David Legwand. As I skated on the ice, their defenseman slid over and gave me a lot of room on that side. I took a shot, and it went in."
Hamhuis' third goal of the season followed a penalty the Predators didn't think was deserved. Officials had called Hamhuis for cross-checking when a puck shot by a teammate appeared to hit Brendan Shanahan in the face at 6:23 of the third as he stood near the right post.
But Nashville, which tied a franchise record by giving up four power-play goals in losing at Montreal 4-3 on Thursday night, killed off its sixth short-handed chance.
Seconds after the power play ended, Vokoun set up Hamhuis' breakaway goal when he knocked away a shot by Jason Woolley with his glove as he fell to his left side. Hamhuis corralled the puck and skated up the left side. Detroit goaltender Curtis Joseph skated out of the crease, but Hamhuis scored his third of the season by putting the puck into the right side of the net.
Nashville coach Barry Trotz called it true justice. Joseph said he thought the Predators were offsides.
"I hesitated for a second, a split-second, a 100th of a second. If you just hesitate, you don't quite cover that much. I should've had it," Joseph said.
Detroit had won four straight and six of seven. But the Red Wins, tied with Philadelphia for the NHL's best power-play unit, had trouble creating any offense with the man advantage.
"You knew whatever team scored the first goal was going to have a very strong advantage," Shanahan said.
Nashville improved to 5-1-1-1 over their last eight home games, and their 15 victories before Christmas are the most in the team's six seasons.
It was a much calmer game than Oct. 30 when these teams combined for 210 penalty minutes and nine fighting majors each. They didn't have one fight, and two of the first four penalties came for having too many men on the ice.
Detroit, the NHL's top-scoring team, kept the Predators on the defensive for much of the first two periods and outshot Nashville 21-17.
"They always play us tough," Woolley said. "They play it simple."
Both teams had good chances.
Joseph, who couldn't play Friday against Chicago because of the flu, made a sliding save to stop a shot by Scottie Upshall late in the first. He smothered the puck at the left post when Vladimir Orszagh tried to skate behind the net and backhand it.
Vokoun stopped a shot by Boyd Devereaux at 14:00 of the second, then got some help when Kimmo Timonen blocked a shot from Mathieu Schneider, the NHL's second-leading scoring defenseman.
|Dan Hamhuis (3) ASST: Vladimir Orszagh (10)|
1 - 0 NSH
|Scottie Upshall Too many men/ice - bench|
|Darryl Bootland Interference|
|Ray Whitney Tripping against Dan Hamhuis|
|Boyd Devereaux Too many men/ice - bench|
|Tomas Vokoun Roughing|
|Jordin Tootoo Roughing|
|Denis Arkhipov Holding|
|Jeremy Stevenson Roughing|
|Jason Woolley Holding - Obstruction|
|Dan Hamhuis Cross checking|