Filip Forsberg tallied twice, but it wasn’t enough as the Nashville Predators fell to the Detroit Red Wings by a 3-2 final on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena in the 91st all-time meeting between the two clubs. The loss closes out the season series versus Detroit, with the Preds going 0-1-1 against their former divisional foe.
The Predators never held a lead in the contest, but were resilient in answering Detroit twice, before a final push came up short.
“I thought we did a great job playing from behind,” Captain Shea Weber said. “We fought hard all night, we battled back from two deficits, we didn’t get the last one back, but like I said, it was a good game both ways. They played well, and I thought we did a pretty good job as well.”
“We knew it was going to be a low-event game,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “Tight, not a lot of room, the neutral zone both ways can be tight at times and doesn’t lead to a lot of things that can happen off the rush. I thought we got better at it in the third period and found some holes. Our defensemen got pretty active in the third period, but the one goal is a difference maker in the game.”
Brendan Smith tallied first for the Red Wings at 5:34, beating Pekka Rinne with a slapper. But just 45 seconds later, Forsberg converted on a Nashville odd-man rush, sending a perfectly-placed wrister through goaltender Petr Mrazek to even the contest at 1-1.
Detroit regained the lead in the middle frame on the power play, thanks to a Riley Sheahan goal, but before the frame was out, Nashville evened things once more. Off an offensive-zone, face-off win from Mike Ribeiro, Craig Smith’s shot from the top of the circle deflected off of Forsberg’s left leg and over the shoulder of Mrazek. Forsberg’s second of the night, and ninth of the season, sent the two foes into the second intermission tied at 2-2.
The Red Wings went up 3-2 when Smith’s point shot was tipped in by Luke Glendening, a marker that ultimately proved to be the game winner.
A slew of Nashville chances came in the closing minutes, but Detroit held on to hand the Preds their 12th regulation defeat of the season.
“It’s the wins that matter,” Weber said. “Especially in a division that’s so tight and with every other team winning, at the end of the night, it’s about the two points.”
It’s a quick turnaround after the holiday break for the Preds, with a practice Sunday, followed by a game against the New York Rangers in Nashville before traveling to St. Louis for a Central Division outing against the Blues.
“There’s still a lot of games left, but we have big games coming up again against the Division on Tuesday and big game against New York Monday,” forward Mike Ribeiro said. “When you lose, you’re frustrated like I am right now, but the only thing you can do is really focus for the next one and really come out like we know we can. When we do that, we come out strong in the first most times, we’ll win games.”
Gif of the Game:
Preds Captain Shea Weber not only catches up with Gustav Nyquist, but also dives to cleanly prevent a breakaway with a sweeping stick check.
Shea Weber on Filip Forsberg scoring more goals as of late:
“It’s tough, especially when you’re a young guy. Last year, things went really well for him and when things are going well, your confidence is up. You’re not even thinking, and things are going in. Maybe when you start to struggle a bit, you start thinking too much and you over-analyze things. For him, I think he’s so good, you just have to play like he has been lately and he’ll be fine. He’s a great player, he’s going to be a great player for a long time.”
Mike Ribeiro has points in four of his last six games versus the Red Wings (2g-4a).
Nashville hosts the New York Rangers on Monday, before jetting off to St. Louis for a Tuesday night contest against the Blues that will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network. It’s then on to Dallas (Dec. 31) and Carolina (Jan. 2) to close out 2015, and ring in the new year.
Saturday’s infographic looks at the near perfect placement of the five goals scored in the contest.
Infographic: Wings Fly Over Preds