Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty
Steve Sullivan lifts the stick of Detroit's Kris Draper during Wednesday's game at Joe Louis Arena.
The Detroit Red Wings erased one-goal Predators leads three times Wednesday night en route to a 5-3 win at Joe Louis Arena. Forward Pavel Datsyuk recorded three assists for the home team while Nashville's Greg Zanon scored his first NHL goal.
The loss reduces Nashville's Central Division lead to two points over the Red Wings. The Predators' win streak is snapped at six and the season record falls to 32-12-3.
Nashville scored first and the teams alternated goals until Jiri Hudler scored at 14:16 of the second period to give the Red Wings their first lead, 4-3. To that point, Zanon, Jordin Tootoo and Dan Hamhuis had tallied for Nashville while Henrik Zetterberg struck twice for Detroit. Predators starting goaltender Tomas Vokoun was replaced by Chris Mason after Zetterberg's second at 1:32 of the middle period.
The game was the tale of two periods. Nashville looked strong in the first, but Detroit turned things around during the second 20-minute session. With Nashville up 3-2, Detroit capitalized on a hooking penalty against Steve Sullivan to knot the game for the third time. Datsyuk found defenseman Niklas Lidstrom for a backdoor play that tied it at 3-3 at 12:22 of the second period. The Red Wings used that momentum to add another goal less than two minutes later. Jiri Hudler's shot from the left circle on a rush beat Mason high to the far side to make it 4-3 with 5:44 remaining in the period. Datsyuk then set up another score, finding Tomas Holmstrom alone in the slot for Detroit's fifth goal at the 19:00 mark.
In the first period, Steve Sullivan and Scott Hartnell each posted an assist. The two Predators fed their teammates in similar fashion for what amounted to empty-net goals. In both cases they streaked down the wings on a 2-on-1 break and shipped the puck across the slot to leave Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek well out of position. Zanon and Tootoo were rewarded for going to the net with goals at 6:35 and 14:52 of the first, respectively.
After scoring on a strong move from the right side at 7:25 of the first, Zetterberg added another just 1:32 into the second period to again tie the game. Mason entered the game and the Predators regained their one-goal cushion less than a minute later. Hamhuis flung the puck on net to keep it in the offensive zone and the seeing-eye shot slid right through the legs of Hasek as Sullivan screened in front. Hamhuis' third goal of the season made it 3-2 at 2:25.
NOTES: Greg Zanon's goal was the first of his NHL career... Tomas Vokoun stopped 6 of the 8 shots he faced in 21:32 of ice time and Chris Mason, who takes the loss, stopped 16 of 19 in 37:08... Nashville lost for just the fifth time this season when scoring the first goal of the game and are now 19-4-1 when leading after one period... Jordin Tootoo scored his second goal of the season... Dan Hamhuis scored his third goal of the season... Vern Fiddler, who helped set up Tootoo's goal, has assists in two straight games... The Predators were outshot 27-17. The 17 total shots ties the season low for Nashville, which has occurred four times... Forwards Darcy Hordichuk and Josef Vasicek were scratched for Nashville.