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Mully's Musings: at Detroit

by Bryan Mullen / Nashville Predators
It would have been the perfect place for Nashville to snap its three-game losing streak. The Predators were in Detroit, at a charged up Joe Louis Arena, facing their division foe.

Instead, the Red Wings dominated, outshot Nashville 37-19 and closed it out with a 4-1 victory.
In the first meeting of the season between the two teams, Detroit came out aggressive and grabbed a 1-0 lead on a goal by Valtteri Filppula at 13:23 of the first. But the game changed in the second when the Red Wings added two goals to take a commanding 3-0 lead after two.

Nashville was much more aggressive on offense in the third period, but by then, it was a little too late. The Preds created some of their best scoring chances of the game in final 20 minutes, and capitalized when Jack Hillen scored his first goal as a Pred at 5:34. But that was all the offense Nashville could muster.

The road trip continues, and next up is Edmonton on Monday. The Oilers beat Nashville 6-2 on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena, so expect the Preds to be jacked up. On to the musings.

Low shot totals: It’s been rare when the Preds outshoot their opponents this season. In past games, Nashville has sometimes looked for the perfect pass instead of getting the puck on net. The exception has been rookie Craig Smith, who takes shots whenever and seemingly from wherever. Saturday’s game was a tad different, however. It wasn’t as if Nashville was passing up shots; they simply had few scoring chances. Nashville struggled to possess the puck, and a lot of that had to do with Detroit. Still, as the road trip continues, Nashville coach Barry Trotz will remind his players that good things happen when you shoot the puck.

Rinne’s night: It wasn’t the best game of the year for Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne. There were a couple of plays that he’d like to have back, but he also didn’t get much help from teammates at other times. Rinne stopped 33 of 37 shots, and his all-time record against Detroit is still an impressive 8-3-3. More times than not, Rinne will keep the Preds in games if the team isn’t playing well. But when facing a top opponent, he will need more help than he got on Saturday night.

First NHL game: Going back to last season, if you asked Nashville’s coaching staff about who was looking good in Milwaukee, Roman Josi’s name almost always came up. The defenseman was called up from Milwaukee on Friday and played in his first NHL game at Detroit. Josi, who was paired with Jack Hillen, and at other times with Jonathon Blum, looked poised. He had 12:20 of ice time. His only shot came with 2:14 to go, and the puck stuck the right ear of Detroit’s Patrick Eaves. Josi had a look of concern as Eaves was taken off the ice on a stretcher, but Josi appeared able to put the scary situation behind him.

D Roman Josi: “I was really excited before the game. We didn’t play a good game, and that’s what is most important. I tried to play my game, play simple, and play well defensively.”

C Valtteri Filppula, Detroit: 2 goals, 1 assist, +2 rating
F Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit: 1 goal, 1 assist, +2 rating
G Jimmy Howard, Detroit: Stopped 18 of 19 shots

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