Make it two wins in a row for the Nashville Predators after a back-and-forth affair led to a 6-4 victory for the Preds.
Nashville started things off early, when Colin Wilson picked up the game’s first goal on the Preds first shot. Wilson took a feed from Seth Jones at center ice, broke just inside the Detroit blueline and fired a shot past Jimmy Howard at 1:54 of the first period. Mike Fisher also picked up an assist on Wilson’s goal. Nashville improved to 15-1-2 when it scores the game’s first goal, and 14-0-1 when leading after the first period.
Detroit would answer a little more than a minute later as Justin Abdelkader walked out of the Nashville corner and backhanded a shot over Marek Mazanec’s shoulder.
The Preds would take the 2-1 lead into the first intermission after a goal from Craig Smith at 9:50. Much like Wilson’s goal, Smith skated into the Detroit zone, looked off a defender and fired a shot from the top of the left circle past Howard.
Things continued in Nashville’s favor in the middle frame, when Nick Spaling picked up a pass from Paul Gaustad, skated into Detroit’s zone and wristed a shot over Howard’s glove for his seventh goal of the season. The Preds are now 26-5-2 all-time when Spaling finds the back of the net.
Pavel Datsyuk would pull the Wings back within a goal just 35 seconds into the third period, as he found some open space along the right wall and fired a shot past Mazanec. Datsyuk continues to torment the Preds with 69 points (21g-48a) in 63 career games against them.
After a second-period bout with Abdelkader, Fisher completed his Gordie Howe hat trick, when he buried a pass from Patric Hornqvist and Wilson six minutes into the third. Hornqvist and Wilson battled behind the net, before Wilson emerged with the puck and found Fisher open in front of Howard.
The teams would go on to trade four goals in the final eight and half minutes of play.
Kyle Quincey started the barrage with his second goal of the year when a scramble in front of Mazanec caused a loose puck to find its way behind the Preds goaltender.
Thirty-seven seconds later, Wilson would post his second goal of the game, as he connected with Jones and roofed a backhander over a sprawling Howard to extend the Preds led to two goals once again.
At 14:52, with Fisher in the box for hooking, Patrick Eaves danced his way through a couple of Preds defenders and found some space over Mazanec’s glove to get Detroit back within striking distance.
Finally, Roman Josi would seal the Wings fate with 19 seconds remaining as he posted a power-play empty-net goal. With the victory, the Preds improved to 16-0-2 when scoring three or more goals this season.
Two Big Things and Notes:
Points, Points and more Points: Four Predators recorded multiple-point games in Monday night’s 6-4 win over the Red Wings:
Mike Fisher continued to have the hot hand for Nashville, posting three-points (1g-2a) on the night. The effort was the veteran center’s second consecutive three-point effort outing, after posting two goals and an assist on Saturday night. Fisher’s goal moved him into second place in goal scoring (10), just one goal behind Craig Smith. The Peterborough, Ont., native also led the team with 12 face-off wins (12-16; 75 percent).
Colin Wilson (2g-1a) posted his highest goals/points total since Nov. 6 at Colorado (2g-2a) en route to First Star honors. Wilson has record five points (2g-3a) in his last three games as he continues to climb the Preds point-scoring leaderboard.
Seth Jones has back-to-back multiple-point games after posting two assists against the Wings. The rookie now has five points (5a) in his last four games to move into a second-place tie with New Jersey’s Eric Gelinas for points by a first-year defenseman (15).
Smith joined the party with a goal and an assist on the night. The third-year winger has now posted at least two points six times in 2013-14, and in three of his last six contests.
Power Play Stays Hot: Ten of Nashville’s last 24 goals have come on the man advantage, including power-play tallies in eight of the team’s last nine games. The Preds power play remains one of the League’s most potent (seventh, 20.9 percent), while Nashville’s home power play ranks among the League’s Top Five (fifth, 24.2 percent) after posting a man-advantage goal in seven consecutive games at Bridgestone Arena (nine for 26). The Preds are now 15-3-2 when they score a power-play goal. Shea Weber leads the team with 14 points (7g-7a) on the man advantage this season.
SCORE OFTEN: Tonight marked the third time this season that Nashville has scored at least six goals (last in a 7-2 W vs. Chicago on Nov. 16). The franchise record for goals in a game is nine (twice; last on March 18, 2006 vs. Calgary). The third frame of tonight’s game saw the most goals (6) by both teams combined in any period of a Preds game this season.
FACE-OFFS: Nashville’s skaters won 40 of the 69 draws tonight. The team has now been at or above 50 percent in 32 of 40 games thus far.
POWER PLAY: With the empty-net clincher tonight coming with a Detroit player in the penalty box, Nashville has now scored a power-play goal in eight of the last nine games.
Paul Gaustad and Matt Cullen also contributed with assists in the game.
Shea Weber again led the Predators in ice time (30:36). Weber has averaged just under 31 minutes over his last three games. Nashville’s captain is fourth in the NHL in average time on ice this season (26:48) and has played past the half-hour mark on five occasions.