DETROIT (AP) _ The Nashville Predators paid the price for giving the Detroit
Red Wings time and space to make plays.
Pavel Datsyuk's dazzling passes set up two goals before seven minutes
elapsed and the Red Wings went on to beat the Predators 4-1 Thursday night to
take a 3-2 series lead.
``When you have the lead, you force them to take chances,'' said Brendan
Shanahan, who gave Detroit a 3-0 lead in the first period. ``In the other
games, they had the lead and were able to just sit back and protect.''
The home team has won each game in the first-round, best-of-seven series and
the Predators hope to keep up the trend in Game 6 on Saturday in Nashville.
Henrik Zetterberg, Brett Hull and Shanahan scored in the first period for
the Red Wings, who are determined to avoid a second straight first-round flop
following another successful regular season.
After Nicklas Lidstrom's power-play goal midway through the second period
made it 4-0, Nashville's Sergei Zholtok scored on the power play with 37.2
seconds left in the period.
That made Hull's goal the game-winner, his 24th in the playoffs, tying the
NHL record set by Wayne Gretzky. Hull turned down two interview requests to
comment on the milestone.
Detroit's Curtis Joseph made 19 saves in his first playoff start since the
Red Wings were swept by Anaheim in the first round last season. Joseph, who has
been hobbled with an ankle injury for much of the season, replaced Manny
When Dominik Hasek ended his one-year retirement last summer, the Red Wings
tried to trade Joseph. Later, Hasek had a season-ending groin injury and the
team decided it wanted to keep Joseph, who then went down with an ankle injury.
Legace, a career backup, then became the unlikely No. 1 goaltender.
``It has been a different year, no question,'' Joseph said.
Tomas Vokoun made 27 saves, but many came after Detroit took control.
Vokoun stopped 82 of 83 shots in Games 3 and 4 as Nashville evened the
series with two wins at home. The Predators went nearly 78 minutes without
giving up a goal before Detroit's first-period flurry.
``If we try to play a skill game, they're going to beat us 10 out of 10
times,'' Vokoun said.
The Red Wings _ playing with a sense of urgency _ scored on their first,
fourth and ninth shots. They did not score in the first period in the first
Mathieu Schneider said Detroit tried to start the game as if it was
``Without a doubt, that was the mentality we had,'' he said.
It took nearly eight minutes before Nashville forced Joseph to make a save,
and the Predators didn't generate many scoring chances the rest of the game.
With relentless pressure all over the ice, the pesky Predators had stymied
Detroit's talent-laden team for the most part _ until Game 5.
Datsyuk made a no-look, between-the-legs pass to Zetterberg, who went across
the crease and flipped a backhander over a sprawled-out Vokoun at 3:19 of the
first. About three minutes later, Datsyuk and Zetterberg cycled the puck along
the left boards before Datsyuk's centering pass led to Hull's goal.
``I thought Pavel was dangerous,'' Detroit coach Dave Lewis said.
In a short-handed situation from behind the net, Shanahan's shot went off
defenseman Dan Hamhuis' skate and got past Vokoun at 13:18 of the first.
The Red Wings were 1-for-21 on the power play before Lidstrom's slap shot
from the left circle gave them a 4-0 lead. The crowd then mockingly chanted:
``I don't think we had as much resolve, composure and discipline as they
did,'' Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. ``And we didn't use our biggest asset,
that's our ability to skate.
``If we give them time and space, they are going to do what they did.''
Zholtok's goal snapped Nashville's 0-for-22 drought on the power play.