Much has changed since the last the the Nashville Predators faced off against the Detroit Red Wings. Both teams have been passed by the St. Louis Blues in the standings since that time. Detroit has hit what amounts to a lull for them in the season. Nashville has had some pretty big roster changes.
The Predators were able to gain more ground in the standings Saturday night with a home victory over the visiting Red Wings 3-2, which featured what are probably the most beautiful plays the Kostitsyn brothers have had in a game during their short stint together this season, as well as a strong game from David Legwand.
Read more after the jump.
Patric Hornqvist was able to strike first blood in the game with a goal 7:30 into the first period, giving the Predators the inital 1-0 lead of the game. The goald came on a beautifully converted two-on-one opportunity in which Hornqvist took the feed from David Legwand to finish the play.
However, the good times would not last very long. Merely 13 seconds after that goal was scored, the Red Wings tied the game right back up 1-1. Drew Miller scored goal number 13 on the season with assists from Danny Cleary and Brad Stuart.
Coach Trotz was not happy, but the Predators did not put their heads down. They kept skating hard, defending and staying aggressive offensively, particulary the Kostitsyn brothers.
At 10:22 in the first period, Doug Janik was called for high sticking Nick Spaling, which gave the Predators their second power play opportunitiy (the Red Wings killed the first attempt at 2:40 in the period).
During that power play, the Kostitsyn brothers got their first big highlight of the evening. Andrei Kostitsyn got his second goal as a Predator with the feed from his little brother Sergei Kostitsyn. David Legwand also managed to get an assist on this play as well, as the score became 2-1 in favor of the Predators.
Where the first period showcased the offensive prowess of both teams, the second period was much more subdued in this facet. Instead, the highlights were defense and saves by Pekka Rinne. At one point he managed to glove a puck right out of the air that came right from the point; watching the game live, it looked as if the puck had scored. Rinne rarely fails to amaze.
More impressive than that, however, was the Nashville penalty killing unit. At 14:48, Shea Weber was called for interference and during the power play for Detroit, Francis Bouillon was called for a phantom high-stick, which resulted in a short 5-on-3 for the Red Wings. It didn’t matter. The Predators were able to kill off the penalties and stay strong with the 2-1 lead.
The Kostitsyn brothers connected yet again at 4:34 in the third period to pad the lead to 3-1 as Sergei once again found Andrei for his second goal of the night, and third goal overall as a member of the Predators.
This game was far from over, however, as the Red Wings made a run.
Justin Abdelkader sliced Nashville’s lead down to 3-2 with a goal at 14:35 that was assisted by Gustav Nyquist and Darren Helm.
With just 9.3 seconds left in the third period, Shea Weber was called with roughing, a very questionable call that set up a 6-on-4 fadvantage for the Red Wings at the end of the game, as the Wings had pulled their goaltender.
Ultimately, it didn’t matter, as the Predators were able to kill off the nine-second penalty and win the game.
Pekka Rinne had a big game, getting 35 saves on 37 attempts (.946%), while Joey Macdonald had 17 saves on 20 attempts (.85%) on the other side of the ice.
Nasvhille converted on two of four power play attempts, while Detroit failed to convert on any of their three attempts at the power play.
The Predators will be in Phoenix to face the Coyotes on Monday night, a game that starts a stretch of four consecutive road games, along with five of the next six being on the road.