Despite the heart-breaking ending for the Nashville Predators and their fans, Friday night's road game against the Detroit Red Wings was a thrilling, evenly matched barn-burner—until Pavel Datsyuk's individual effort beat Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne
with 5.8 seconds left to give the home side a 2-1 regulation win.
The first-period was fast-paced with few whistles. Nashville held its own on enemy ice, creating breakaways for Gabriel Bourque
and Ryan Suter
in the first 12 minutes. But it was a diving play by Pavel Datsyuk that ultimately led to Johan Franzen's goal to put Detroit up 1-0 at 12:44.
Nashville responded with a rock-solid second period in which one felt it was just a matter of time before the Preds tied the game. Near the 13:00 mark of the period, Suter intercepted an outlet pass from Red Wings goaltender Joey MacDonald and put it right back on net, forcing MacDonald to answer with a huge save. A minute later, MacDonald stymied Martin Erat
on a breakaway set up by Sergei Kostitsyn
. But at 14:58, the building momentum crescendoed with a Nick Spaling
goal that evened the game heading to the third.
The teams traded quality chances in the third. But as the clock wound down to the final minutes of regulation, Detroit seemed to gain momentum. Rinne came up with some huge saves, but another impressive individual effort by Datsyuk culminated in his wrist shot that beat Rinne high with 5.8 seconds remaining.
The Predators, now 33-19-6 on the season, next travel to Dallas for a game 6pm CT Sunday.THREE MUSINGSTIME OUT:
In a testament to Nashville's play, Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock used his team's lone timeout at 6:12 of the second period. Nashville started the period with a good power play as Detroit's Niklas Lidstrom sat in the penalty box for tripping early in the second. Moments later, Martin Erat
and Mike Fisher
led a rush that ended with trailer Ryan Ellis
firing a slapshot that was turned aside by goaltender Joey MacDonald. With Nashville outshooting the home side 3-0 early in the middle frame, Babcock didn't like what he was seeing. Despite his team's 1-0 lead, the coach called for the 30-second break to settle and redirect his troops.LASSOED BY TOOTOO:
Predators forward Jordin Tootoo
has been known for delivering huge hits, but it was a more restrained bump and ensuing takeaway from defenseman Jakub Kindl deep in the Detroit zone that set up Nick Spaling
for a second-period goal that tied Friday's game at 1-1. It was great to see Tootoo rewarded for his plays made behind the opposing net, as he's been setting up his linemates with prime chances in the slot over the past several games.#SNAPTHESTREAK:
The Detroit Red Wings entered Friday night's game on a well-publicized roll, having won an NHL single-season-record 21 consecutive games on home ice. While the streak looked like it could be in jeopardy Friday, Pavel Datsyuk's last second heroics extended the record one more game. At 22 games, the streak now ties the Boston Bruins who won a record 22 games over the course of two seasons in 1929-1931.THREE QUOTESHal Gill (on his trade Friday from Montreal to Nashville; not dressed for the game):
"I was waiting for it to happen but its always a surprise when it does happen. I'm excited and I think this is a good opportunity for me. Hopefully I can help the team out."Associate Coach Peter Horachek:
"We know that they're good in this building. It's a hard building to play in, but 1-1 going into the third period is one of the best situations you can be in. They're going to feel a little bit of the pressure. But I thought in the second period we were much better because we had much much better energy than we did in the first period and there were a lot of little things we did better."Nick Spaling:
"For the majority of the game we played a good game but, you know, it's frustrating to lose like that. When you're so close you've got to at least get some points."THREE STARS
1. F, Pavel Datsyuk (DET) — 1 goal, 1 assist, +2, 5 shots, 5 takeaways, won 58% of face-offs
2. G, Joey MacDonald (DET) — stopped 20-of-21 shots for his seventh win
3. G, Pekka Rinne
(NSH) — stopped 29-of-31 shots