Red Wings get the best of Preds in final divisional meeting

The Nashville Predators helped their draft lottery chances Thursday night with a 5-2 loss against the Detroit Red Wings. This game was the last meeting between these two teams as divisional opponents. However, that doesn’t mean their rivalry is done forever.

After the Predators took a 2-1 lead 12:30 in the first period thanks to Craig Smith on the powerplay, the Red Wings would come back with four unanswered goals.

Johan Franzen started the scoring streak a minute into the second by scoring top shelf from the right of Chris Mason. 2:41 later, Patrick Eaves was found alone in the right circle as he snapped the puck by Mason’s blocker after a great feed from ex-Pred Jordin Tootoo to score the game winning goal.

To cap off a successful second period, Pavel Datsyuk streaked into the Nashville zone and sniped Mason blocker side on the power play with Shea Weber screening his own goaltender.

Justin Abdelkader put the nail in the coffin late in the third off a three on two rush. Zetterberg’s shot left a rebound for Abdelkader, who scored on a wide open net. That goal was huge as throughout most of the third, Nashville was pouring the pressure on.

Chris Mason made a rare start, starting in just his eighth game all season. It was one he would like to forget however, as he let in five goals and could only stop 33 of 38 shots.

Nashville was able to get their assistant captain back from injury Thursday, luckily. Mike Fisher made his presence known 1:46 into the game with his team’s first goal of the game. Fisher played 18:53 of the game adding a goal and an assist for his efforts. Boy, the Preds really could have used him earlier this season.

Another game, another rookie it seems like. Joonas Rask made his NHL debut against the point hungry Red Wings. Just a couple weeks ago, Rask was in Finland with his season in the SM-liiga winding down. Now, he sees himself playing in the big leagues, which is quite the transition for the 23 year old. “It’s been a busy week,” said Rask. “It was my first game, so I was excited.”

Brother of Boston Bruins’ goaltender Tuukka Rask, he gave Joonas a few pointers before his first game. “He told me to keep my feet moving,” said Rask. “The game is faster.”

Rask became the sixth player to make his NHL debut with the Preds during this losing stretch. “I’ve beenshaking a lot of hands congratulating them on their first game this year,” said defenseman Hal Gill.

Rask totaled 6:36 of ice time and was a -2.

Nashville and the “Injury Ninja” met each other once more as Matt Halischuk left 5:30 in the second with an upper body injury and did not return. It now looks like Filip Forsberg will be recalled and Joonas Rask will stay with the Predators by the time the puck drops Saturday in Columbus for the season closer.

Lastly, but certainly not least, congratulations to Valtteri Filppula who notched his 100th goal of his NHL career with the Red Wings’ first goal of the night 6:53 in.

Goals and Assists

1-0 NSH: Mike Fisher – Clune and Smith at 1:46 in the 1st

1-1 tie: Valterri Filppula – Franzen and Cleary at 6:53 in the 1st

2-1 NSH: PP Craig Smith – Fisher and Weber at 12:30 in the 1st

2-2 tie: Johan Franzen – Brunner and Datsyuk at 1:01 in the 2nd

2-3 DET: Patrick Eaves – Tootoo at 3:41 in the 2nd

2-4 DET: PP Pavel Datsyuk – Zetterberg and Kronwall at 19:13 in the 2nd

2-5 DET: Justin Abdelkader – Zetterberg (2) and Datsyuk (2) at 16:01 in the 3rd

My Three Stars of the Game

1. Pavel Datsyuk: Goal & 2 Assists

2. Valtteri Filppula: 100th Goal

3. Mike Fisher: Goal

Predators scratches: #18 W Brandon Yip (lower body), #27 W Patric Hornqvist (upper body), #28 C Paul Gaustad (shoulder), #56 W Taylor Beck (upper body) and #57 W Gabriel Bourque (knee)

Red Wings scratches: #18 D Ian White, #20 W Drew Miller, #23 D Brian Lashoff, #28 D Carlo Colaiacovo, #37 W Mikael Samuelsson, #44 W Todd Bertuzzi and #0 G Jared Coreau

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