DETROIT – The Red Wings continue a three-game homestand in four days when they welcome the Nashville Predators to Joe Louis Arena on Saturday evening.
Despite out-shooting the Preds on Tuesday, the Red Wings – other than Pavel Datsyuk, who made a pitch for spectaulat goal of the year – couldn’t get more than three pucks behind goalie Pekka Rinne in Nashville.
It wasn’t the Finnish netminder’s finest game of the year, but it was good enough for his seventh win, nonetheless. Though his 1.67 goals-against average (fourth in the NHL) and a .935 save percentage (third-best) is rather impressive.
“Pekka Rinne’s not bad,” Babcock said. “They got one of the best goalies in the world and Weber’s one of the best D in the world and they’ve done a good job drafting. They just all play hard and they’re organized. I think they’ve been doing a good job. I’ve been in Detroit eight years now, every year they’ve been good.”
The Predators squandered a 2-0 first-period lead to the Red Wings on Tuesday. Detroit battled back and managed to get a point when the game went to overtime. But playing catch-up hockey has been a problem all season for the Wings.
“Obviously, I thought we did a lot of good things,” Babcock said. “I thought we battled hard. We had lots of good players, and in the end we didn’t have enough of those. We didn’t get it done. In this league you don’t get many moral victories. I thought our guys competed hard. Our penalty kill was good. We were shorthanded too many times, six times. But all in all, we had some real competitive players and we had a couple of guys who didn’t show.”
Those players will need to show up if the Wings are to get two-points out of the Predators.
PLAYER TO WATCHD SHEA WEBER –
Defense - NSH
GOALS: 3 | ASST: 4 | PTS: 7
SOG: 44 | +/-: 2
It was an absolutely horrendous start to the 2013 season for Weber, who went 14-plus games before he scored his first goal of the shortened campaign. However, the 6-foot-4 defenseman has been heating up recently with three goals and three assists in his past four contests, including two points and the game-winner when he scored 44-seconds into overtime against the Red Wings at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday. Weber has a big-time point shot, but it was his play Tuesday, where he jumped in the play, skating deep into the offensive zone and firing home a rebound past Jonas Gustavsson
for the Predators’ win. … It was Weber’s third career game-winner against Detroit, a personal best vs. any NHL club.
Season Series: 0-0-1
2011-12 Season Series: 3-3-0
All-Time Series Season: 46-24-4-8
Nashville’s Season Record: 8-4-5
Top Scorer vs. Red Wings: David Legwand – 1 Goal, 4 Assists in 6 Games.
Red Wings’ Top Scorer – Henrik Zetterberg – 2 Goals, 5 Assists in 7 Games.
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose
Tickets to this game and all 13 remaining regular-season contests at The Joe are currently available for purchase at the JLA box office (313-396-7575), all Ticketmaster (800-745-3000) outlets, and online at DetroitRedWings.com.