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Detroit
Red Wings
50-19-13
Nashville
Predators
51-23-8

30 SOG
25 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
DET
NSH
game recap

Red Wings 2, Predators 1

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Red Wings 2, Predators 1
Detroit Red Wings 2, Nashville Predators 1

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -The Predators had Peter Forsberg, Paul Kariya and Jason Arnott on the ice, the goalie pulled for the extra attacker and a man advantage on a power play.

And still they couldn't push the puck past Chris Osgood to force overtime.

That sums up their struggle to end Detroit's run atop the Central Division and the Western Conference - only to keep coming up short head-to-head.

Pavel Datsyuk scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and had an assist, and the Red Wings beat Nashville 2-1 Thursday night and moved back into a tie with the Predators atop the NHL.

The Red Wings, Predators and Buffalo all have 105 points, but Detroit has a game in hand on Nashville with its four of final five games left against Central Division cellar dwellers Columbus and Chicago.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock said he isn't worrying about standings, finishing first or fourth.

"We're in the playoffs, and one through eight, I don't know who we want to play ... Which team do we match up best against? I can't figure it out, so I'm not spending any time doing it," Babcock said.

Nashville blew a chance to pad its lead and has four games left to win a franchise-best 50th game. Three of those are at home. Not that anyone is making excuses, but several Predators pointed out they were short-handed with five forwards out - four to injuries including Steve Sullivan (back).

Forsberg, who played nearly 22 minutes, said they tried to battle despite running low on forwards and are frustrated at not having control in their own hands.

"We have to rely on Detroit losing two points, and we go undefeated. It was two huge points we lost today," he said.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz pointed out Detroit had scored only seven more goals in this series with a couple of empty netters.

"I'd like to see our club healthy and play them," he said.

Detroit came into this game having already won the season series with five victories in the first seven games. The Red Wings finished off the series finale in style with their fourth straight victory against Nashville and 13 of 16 possible points.

Johan Franzen also scored, and Todd Bertuzzi had two assists for the Red Wings.

"It's a fun game to play with Nashville," Datsyuk said. "Both teams have great players and try to play their game."

David Legwand scored Nashville's only goal and said there was enough clutching and grabbing in the game that it felt like the old NHL. Detroit killed off four of five power plays.

The Predators weren't happy with the finish.

They got a man advantage with 2:35 left after Franzen tripped over goalie Tomas Vokoun's stick-hand. Vokoun headed toward the bench with 100 seconds left to attack.

Osgood, getting the start in net to keep Dominik Hasek from playing back-to-back games with Dallas visiting Friday night, stopped three shots. Alexander Radulov was checked to the ice by Kris Draper trying to keep the puck in the offensive zone, and both wound up in the penalty box.

Nashville took a timeout and had a final flurry in front of Osgood, who finished with 25 saves, including a stop on Ryan Suter that hit Nicklas Lidstrom's glove late. Nothing got across the line.

"Osgood was real good," Trotz said.

The Predators got on the board first with a second left in a power play. Legwand scored from the right circle at 9:10 of the first period. But Detroit tied it at 14:08 when Franzen took a pass from Datsyuk after just crossing the blue line, skated up the slot and beat Vokoun's glove hand.

Detroit, which outshoots just about everyone, took control in the second and kept the puck in front of Vokoun most of the period. The Red Wings outshot Nashville 30-25.

Datsyuk finally put Detroit ahead with a power-play goal at 7:30, his 26th. With a crowd at the crease and the puck near the right post near the line, Datsyuk swept it past Vokoun's blocker as he sprawled on his belly.

Notes: Detroit improved to 41-10-9 when outshooting an opponent and 31-1-2 when leading after two periods. ... Datsyuk now has 11 assists against the Predators this season, the most by any player in one season against Nashville. He also has scored five goals in the past six games. ... J.P. Dumont had an assist, giving him 19 points in 19 games for Nashville.

scoring summary
1st Period
09:10
NSH
PPG - David Legwand (24) ASST: J-P Dumont (44), Alexander Radulov (19)
1 - 0 NSH
14:08
DET
Johan Franzen (10) ASST: Pavel Datsyuk (56), Todd Bertuzzi (7)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
07:30
DET
PPG - Pavel Datsyuk (26) ASST: Tomas Holmstrom (22), Todd Bertuzzi (8)
2 - 1 DET
3rd Period
NONE
penalty summary
1st Period
07:11
DET
Kirk Maltby  Tripping against  Ryan Suter
16:35
DET
Kirk Maltby  Slashing against  Darcy Hordichuk
2nd Period
06:28
NSH
Jason Arnott  Hooking against  Chris Chelios
07:54
DET
Chris Chelios  Interference against  Vernon Fiddler
17:51
NSH
Ryan Suter  Interference against  Daniel Cleary
3rd Period
00:54
NSH
David Legwand  Interference against  Todd Bertuzzi
05:54
DET
Niklas Kronwall  Interference against  J-P Dumont
17:25
DET
Johan Franzen  Interference on goalkeeper against  Tomas Vokoun
19:31
DET
Kris Draper  Interference against  Alexander Radulov
19:31
NSH
Alexander Radulov  Holding against  Kris Draper
goalie stats
Chris Osgood
SA: 25TOI: 60:00
Saves: 24EV: 18 - 18
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 7
SV%: .960SH: 0 - 0
Tomas Vokoun
SA: 30TOI: 58:06
Saves: 28EV: 23 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .933SH: 2 - 2