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Mully's Musings: vs. Detroit

by Bryan Mullen / Nashville Predators
Note to fans attending Nashville Predators games: Don’t leave early.

For the second time in a week, the Preds captured a stunning come-from-behind victory to steal two points and leave their opponents dazed. On Thursday in front of a frenzied, sellout crowd of 17,113 at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville battled back from a two-goal deficit against Detroit and relied on their captain to net two scores in the final minutes to earn a 4-3 win against the rival Red Wings.

Last Thursday, Nashville faced Columbus and forced overtime on a goal with 12.1 seconds to go in regulation. Colin Wilson netted the game-winner in overtime to give Nashville a 4-3 win.
This one was just as thrilling. The Preds extended their winning streak to four games while Detroit’s three-game winning streak was snapped.

It was closely contested through the first period and the score was knotted 1-1 after one. Tomas Holmstrom tallied the Red Wings’ goal, which came on the power play, while Detroit native David Legwand got Nashville on the board midway through the period.

Things weren’t looking good for the Preds midway through the second. The Red Wings took a 3-1 lead on goals from Henrik Zetterberg and Nicklas Lidstrom. Zetterberg’s came on the power play. Nashville’s Jordin Tootoo gave his team some life when he scored with 2:38 to go in the second, cutting the Red Wings’ lead to 3-2.

Then things got wacky. So let’s start the musings right here…

Time to shine: Great players make great plays in big games. Captain Shea Weber was a prime example against Detroit. With his team trailing 3-2, the All-Star defenseman scored two goals in the final 4:24 of the third – with one coming on the power play – and hoisted his team on his back. Weber, however, did get some help. Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling provided screens and created traffic in front of Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard. But most of the credit deservedly goes to Weber, who unloaded his trademark shot on the power play goal, and unleashed a similar blast on the game-winner. Weber continues to play at a high level no matter the opponent or situation. His two goals will be remembered most, but his defensive effort was just as important. He played a team-high 24:44, tied for the game-high in hits (four) and blocked two shots. In short, it was a superstar performance.

Rinne quietly good: It wasn’t a night full of highlights for Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne, but it may have been his most battle-tested win of 2011-12. And that’s what the coaching staff likes to see sometimes. He was in a deep hole midway through the second when the Preds trailed 3-1. Detroit had scored two goals on the power play, and both times pucks deflected off Nashville defensemen before directly bouncing to a Detroit player. But Rinne stepped up late and made stops on all 13 shots he faced in the third. He stopped 37 of 40 shots in all, and it was his 14th 30-save performance of the season.

Home ice is nice: Before the current four-game homestand started, Nashville coach Barry Trotz and his players spoke at length about needing to take advantage of their home ice. The Preds had struggled at Bridgestone Arena for most of the season, and it was becoming a troubling trend. Now, that seems like five seasons ago. Nashville has won three in a row at home and can stretch it to four with a victory against St. Louis on Saturday. If the Preds continue to be a force at home, it will be a great benefit by the time 2012 begins. Nashville plays three home games from Dec. 22–28.

D Shea Weber on his game-tying goal: “The crowd was going nuts. There was a standing ovation. That’s what we love about playing at home. Our fans are with us and it gives us that boost.”

G Pekka Rinne: “You have to make some desperate plays against Detroit. You know they are going to shoot the puck and will always have people in front.”

Barry Trotz: “Those are hard games. The Detroit Red Wings. I believe, have been the top team in the league in the past month. They’re hard to play against. We found a way to win.”

D Shea Weber, Nashville: 2 goals, game-winning goal, 4 hits, 2 blocked shots
F Jordin Tootoo, Nashville: 1 goal, 1 assist, +2 rating; 2 key plays on Weber's game-winning goal
F Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit: 2 assists, +1 rating, 11-for-18 faceoffs

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