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
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,"
"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
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
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.