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Predators come up empty in Detroit

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators

Scott Hartnell and Dominik Hasek
Photo by Getty/Dave Sandford
Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek stops Scott Hartnell for one of the 21 saves he made against the Predators Friday.

Dominik Hasek stopped all 21 Nashville shots and Robert Lang, Nicklas Lidstrom and Daniel Cleary each scored as the Nashville Predators fell to the Detroit Red Wings by a 3-0 score Friday night in Joe Louis Arena. It was the first time the Predators had been shut out this season. The loss also snapped a five-game winning streak and ended a 9-0-1 run for Nashville.

"We just didn't do anything that we've been doing for the last 10 games," Predators associate coach Brent Peterson said. "It was a little bit of them being good and a little bit of us not being very good. Not working together and not totally working and then also not executing at all. We never got pucks to the net and we never hit the net. We never got to Hasek. He didn't even have to make big saves. He made a few big ones but not too many."

The Predators are now 9-4-1 on the season and fall four points behind the first-place Red Wings in the Central Division standings.

Detroit got the jump on Nashville in the first period, outshooting the Predators 20-8, and that seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the match. The visitors exhibited stretches of good play, but were unable to sustain pressure against a Red Wings team that kept them to the perimeter, blocked 13 shots and dominated puck possession.

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Detroit also capitalized on key opportunities, scoring on a turnover in the first period and tallying on the power play early in the third. Down 2-0 late, the Predators pulled goaltender Tomas Vokoun for an extra attacker with 2:18 left in regulation. Despite the manpower advantage, Nashville was unable to muster much of an attack against the sharp Detroit club as the clock wound down. The Red Wings gained possession and with 1:19 remaining, Cleary redirected an outlet pass from Pavel Datsyuk into the empty net to put the Red Wings up 3-0, sealing the Predators' fate.

Detroit got its first goal 8:46 into the contest after Lang picked up a defensive-zone giveaway by blueliner Mikko Lehtonen. Lang's attempted centering pass hit Nashville's David Legwand in the skate and returned to Lang. As Legwand spun looking for the puck, Lang released a backhand shot that found its way through Vokoun to make it 1-0.

The Predators found themselves in some penalty trouble throughout the game, but it was their last trip to the sin bin that cost them a goal. Martin Erat's high-sticking penalty at 20:00 of the second period gave Detroit a carryover power-play to start the third. At 1:28 of the final frame, Lidstrom followed up his own one-timer to find the puck sitting between the legs of a sprawling Vokoun, who thought he had the disc covered. A quick poke of Lidstrom's stick made it 2-0 for the Red Wings.

Vokoun stopped 37 of 39 shots in the loss and moves to 7-3-1 on the season. Hasek posted his second consecutive shutout and improves his season record to 8-3-1.

The Predators, who had five days off prior to Friday's game, now return home for the second of back-to-back games Saturday. They'll face the Colorado Avalanche for the first time this season in a 7:00 p.m. meeting at the Gaylord Entertainment Center. Less than 1,000 seats remain for Saturday's tilt. To order, purchase online, call 615-770-PUCK, or visit any Ticketmaster outlet or the GEC box office. All fans in attendance will receive a free Edge Prowl Towel.

NOTES: Nashville went 0-for-4 on the power-play, failing to convert with the manpower advantage for the first time in six games... The Predators are 0-3-0 against Central Division teams this season... Forward Josef Vasicek returned to the Predators lineup Friday after missing eight games with a hip flexor injury. He registered one shot and an even plus/minus rating in 12:19 of ice time... Scottie Upshall and Darcy Hordichuk were scratched from Nashville's lineup.

 

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