Photo by John Russell
Predators center and Detroit native David Legwand (right) scores on Red Wings goaltender Chris Osgood to put the Preds up 1-0 in the first period.
The Nashville Predators fell to the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 Thursday night at Nashville Arena. Pavel Datsyuk scored a power-play goal for Detroit 7:30 into the second period to break a 1-1 tie. David Legwand scored the lone goal for Nashville, tallying early to put the home club on the board first.
With the loss, Nashville's record drops to 49-22-7 overall and 27-7-4 at home. The two points Detroit earned in the victory pull the Red Wings even with Nashville in the Western Conference standings at 105 points. Detroit still has one more game left on its schedule than Nashville, so it wins the tiebreaker to claim the top spot in the conference and Central Division standings. Nashville returns to action on Saturday, hosting the Dallas Stars in a sold-out 7:00 p.m. game at Nashville Arena.
The Predators got out of the gates well Tuesday, pressuring the Red Wings and generating plenty of scoring chances. When defenseman Ryan Suter pinched to hold a puck inside the offensive zone near the 8:00 mark, he was tripped along the boards by Kirk Maltby. The led to the first power-play of the game, and the Predators tallied with one second remaining in Maltby's minor. Goaltender Tomas Vokoun started the sequence with a long up-ice pass to Legwand while both sides were changing lines. Legwand was waiting at the right edge of the far blue line when he took the pass and carried the puck in the Detroit end on right wing. He then initiated a nifty play in the right corner that saw the puck go from Legwand to Alexander Radulov to J.P. Dumont and back to Legwand for a shot that beat goaltender Chris Osgood. The tally, which came at 9:10, was Legwand's 24th of the season.
A minute later, Vokoun made a big stop on a Todd Bertuzzi breakaway to keep the momentum in Nashville's favor. The Predators then road a wave for several minutes, nearly connecting on scoring bids from Radulov, captain Kimmo Timonen, and Jason Arnott in a one-minute span.
Detroit pulled the momentum in its direction shortly thereafter, getting a goal from Johan Franzen at 14:08 to tie the game. Datsyuk made a nice play inside the Predators blue line to draw two defenders to him and slip as pass through one defenseman's legs to Franzen who was cutting behind everyone to the net. Franzen fired a wrister from the slot that beat Vokoun to the glove side.
Arnott came within inches of giving the Predators a 2-1 lead 30 seconds into the middle period but fired a one-timer off the outside of the net. Six minutes later he was sent to the box for hooking, setting up Detroit's first power play of the game. Datsyuk converted 1:02 into the manpower advantage, finishing off a pair of quick chances by Tomas Holmstrom and Bertuzzi with three whacks at the puck inside the right post.
The Predators generated a number of chances in the later stages of the third period and closed out the game with a frenetic flurry in front of Detroit's goal. Osgood, who stopped 24 of 25 shots for the game, had the answer for everything Nashville threw at him.
NOTES: David Legwand scored his 24th goal of the season. It was his second in the last 14 games and his second power-play goal of the season. His goal was Nashville's 260th of the season, a new team record... J.P. Dumont assisted on Legwand's goal and now has points in two straight games (1g-3a-4pts)... Alexander Radulov assisted on Legwand's goal as well and has points in four consecutive games (2g-3a-5pts)... Defenseman Greg Zanon registered a game-high four hits... Blueliners Shea Weber and Kimmo Timonen blocked a game-high four shots each. Timonen led all Predators in ice time, logging 24:23... Nashville matched Detroit 1-1 in the first period and has not outscored opponents by a combined 91-56 in first periods this season... The loss marked just the 18th time this season that the Predators trailed after two periods. Their record when doing so is now 3-14-1... Nashville is 23-14 in one-goal games, 37-10-4 when scoring first, 20-8-2 against Central Division opponents and 27-7-4 one home ice... Scott Nichol, Martin Erat and Steve Sullivan were scratched for Nashville. Jordin Tootoo served the final game of a five-game suspension.