|Photo by Frederick BreedonMartin Erat
(left) scored Nashville's second goal of the game, cutting Detroit's lead to 3-2 early in the third period.
The Detroit Red Wings defeated the Nashville Predators 5-2 Tuesday night at Nashville Arena. Jiri Hudler, Kyle Calder, and Valterri Filppula all scored as the Red Wings expanded a 2-1 lead after two periods to the three-goal margin by the final buzzer.
Hudler put the Red Wings up 3-1 with 1:24 expired in the third period, but Martin Erat pulled the Predators to within one with a 5-on-3 power-play goal 5:07 into the third. Calder scored with 2:02 remaining in regulation to make it 4-2, then Filppula exploited a Predators breakdown to add an insurance goal with 1:21 left.
With the loss, the Predators move to 46-19-6 on the season and their lead over second-place Detroit in the league standings closes to one point. The two teams meet again Wednesday night in Detroit to complete a back-to-back home-and-home set. Game time is 6:30 p.m. CT.
Kirk Maltby's goal 4:30 into the second period put the Red Wings ahead going into the third. Robert Lang put the Red Wings on the scoreboard first with a goal 1:39 into the game. Rookie winger Alexander Radulov evened the score for the Predators at 7:02 of the first on the power play.
Nashville had three opportunities with a manpower advantage over the opening 20 minutes and stayed out of the penalty box themselves to keep Detroit's power play units on the bench. Jordin Tootoo was directly responsible for Nashville's first power play, drawing a high-sticking penalty from a frustrated Mathieu Schneider after Tootoo delivered a big hit on the Red Wings defenseman seconds earlier. Radulov's goal came while Schneider sat in the box. David Legwand entered the offensive zone on the right side during a rush, drawing two Detroit defenders to his side of the ice. Legwand sent a backhand pass to Radulov alone in the high slot, and the sharpshooter's rocket beat goaltender Chris Osgood cleanly to tie the game at 1-1.
Nashville outshot Detroit 13-4 in the first. Lang got the Red Wings' goal after Calder came in on right wing, hit the post and was stopped by netminder Tomas Vokoun. A group of players gathered in front around the loose puck and it popped higher into the slot where Lang sent it through traffic and past Vokoun.
The Predators found themselves at the wrong end of the referees' whistles in the second period, giving the Red Wings three cracks at the power play while earning only one for themselves. As a result, the shot total was understandably lopsided in Detroit's favor at 15-5. Neither team converted on the power play in the second, however. Matlby's goal was the result of a play by Kris Draper in the right corner of Nashville's zone. Filppula sent the puck down to Draper, who banked a centering feed off the right post from behind the goal line. The pass made its way in front where Maltby was able to roof it over Vokoun.
ERAT INJURED: Martin Erat left the game with 7:36 remaining in the third period after colliding with Jason Arnott inside the Detroit blue line. Erat laid on the ice for a minute before being helped off the rink by Arnott and Ryan Suter. After the game, Predators officials termed the injury a lower body injury and said an update on Erat's condition would be provided Wednesday morning. Head coach Barry Trotz said Erat will not be in the lineup in Detroit Wednesday.
NOTES: Alexander Radulov's goal was his second in the last seven games... David Legwand posted an assist and now has points in three of the last four games (1g-3a=4pts)... Kimmo Timonen had an assist to bring his season point total to 49, one away from his second straight 50-point season. The assist was his 24th power-play point, which leads the team... Martin Erat's goal gave him points in three of the last four games... Paul Kariya extended his point streak to six games with an assist. He has 8 points during the streak (3g-5a) and points in eight of the last nine games (6g-6a=12pts)... The Predators scored twice on the power-play and now have 11 power-play goals in their last eight games... Tuesday's game marked just the 16th time the Predators trailed after two periods (3-12-1 record)... The loss was only the sixth regulation defeat for Nashville at home this season (25-6-4) and the team's first regulation loss in 11 games (7-1-3)... The Predators are now 20-6-2 against Central Division opponents... Nashville is two points away from its second straight 100-point season.
PREDATORS HEAD COACH BARRY TROTZ
General game impressions
You know, in the first period I thought we came out great. Obviously they got the first goal but I thought in that first period we had a lot of quality chances and I was a little disappointed that we were actually tied after the first but we had a good start. Then in the second period, we gave them a couple of power plays, a little bit of a lull in the second and they were able to capitalize on a couple of chances. Then in the third, the first goal (for Detroit) was almost the back-breaker in some ways. I thought we played well to get back, 3-2 then obviously the 4th goal was the nail in the coffin and the 5th one was what it was.
On getting guys back from injury
Probably the closest one would be Peter (Forsberg), he would be the one closest to coming back. As you know I'm not a doctor, but I would think Peter is the closest and we're hoping for Saturday.
On recalling forwards for the next game
We're talking about that, that's a possibility but could go with 7 D (defensemen) as well. We may go that route ( with 7 D) or we may call a forward in from Milwaukee.
On the power-play
We got 2 power play goals against a very good penalty-killing team, I think you have to be happy with that. At the same time you know obviously you'd like to have 3 (PP goals). They (Detroit) did a good job of disrupting some of our breakouts and some of our setups, that's pre-scouting and making adjustments all those type of things.
PREDATORS DEFENSEMAN SHEA WEBER
On the next game against Detroit being even more important
That was a big game for us. It's going into their building and trying to steal two points from them.
On how well Detroit has played even due to injuries
They've done that all year. That's the sign of a good team. When guys go out, other players step up. Same thing with our team; we've had a lot of guys out this year. Hopefully everyone gets back and gets well soon, so we can get rolling.
On giving up a goal early in the third period
It hurts to give up that goal early in the third and put ourselves in that two-goal deficit. We knew we were going to get chances; we still had chances when it was 3-2, close chances, but close doesn't cut it. We need to be better tomorrow.
PREDATORS GOALTENDER TOMAS VOKOUN
On the next game against Detroit
We played till the end, obviously, and they got a break with the fourth goal. It's tough. I mean, we played a pretty good first period and weren't able to get the lead. We lost the game. We did some good things, but that's not enough. We have to be better. Our coverage needs to be a lot better. It's that simple.
On Detroit converting their chances
It was a really close game. If you don't count those two goals at the end there, one is unpreventable and the second one, I was almost at the blue line, going to the bench and a guy gets a clear breakaway, you don't have time to get set. I didn't even know where the net was. It wasn't like we got blown out, but the score certainly looks like it.
On if it's a good thing playing Detroit again in 24 hours
We'll find out tomorrow. I don't know. We'll see, you just never know. Tomorrow is a brand new day and the game is still 0-0. We'll see and go from there.
PREDATORS RIGHT WING ALEXANDER RADULOV
On missing the chance to gain two points on Detroit
We just have to forget that game. Come back tomorrow as a team and play well. (We) just need to beat them there in Detroit. It's going to be tough.
On playing well despite injured players
We had a great team. We have a great character team and guys step up. They understand that some of our leaders are injured, but we can't give up on that. Nothing is going to take anything from us. Just have to work hard.
On scoring his goal
It's always good to score, but I try not to think about it. The team lost. That's more important (to focus on.)
RED WINGS FORWARD KYLE CALDER
His play tonight...
"The two points are what we're more concerned about right now. They're a great team over there and this was a big game for us.
Adjustment after the trade...
"Yeah it's going pretty well right now. I am pretty comfortable in here. I played against these guys for a lot of years, I know a lot of them. I just have to keep going."
RED WINGS DEFENSEMAN NIKLAS LIDSTROM
On Calder's performance
"He has been playing great for us since he got here. He is doing what we wanted him to do, and what we expect him to do. Go in front of the net, go to the tough areas, get some rebounds get some goals like he did tonight."
"I thought in the 2nd period we started playing better and better. I thought we got pucks behind their defenseman and started cycling the puck a little bit in their end and tiring their D out a little bit and I think that is where we took the game over."
RED WINGS FORWARD KIRK MALTBY
"He is kinda like a Homer (Holmstrom), he'll go into those dirty spots and he'll take the hits and he'll stand in front of the net and take the crosschecks and try to deflect pucks and get the garbage goals."
RED WINGS HEAD COACH MIKE BABCOCK
"Its good for Huds (Hudler), cause Huds can score. If he can just learn to back check and compete every single night he can be a real good player. A lot of people talk about his skating. His skating is fine if he works at it."
"They are a real good team, we're a good team. We had the upper hand tonight. We gotta go back and try do the same. It's so evenly matched just a fine line turns the game. We were fortunate tonight."