The Red Wings pull up a crucial 2 points against the Predators, blanking them 3-0, and extending Nashville’s losing streak to 6 games.
In a do-or-die situation of a game, the Red Wings looked like they were going to roll over in another first period battle for the umpteenth time this season. Luckily though, they found their feet halfway through the period and finally started generating chances. On two defensive-minded teams, there were a large number of quality scoring chances for either side, but great goaltending for both ends kept it scoreless through the 1st. The Predators held an edge in shots after 20 minutes by 13-9.
The Red Wings kept their offensive stride in the 2nd period, and it paid off for them. They opened the scoring at 6:23, all off of a well-thought pass by Pavel Datsyuk. He put the puck over to Danny DeKeyser at the point, who could see that Pekka Rinne had him in full-sight, so he let off a slapshot purposely wide of the net, bouncing it off the boards behind the net. It rebounded back in front of the net right to Henrik Zetterberg, who tapped into the empty net his 9th of the season, and his first goal in 10 games, also giving DeKeyser his first NHL point. Jimmy Howard would ensure that his team would enter the dressing room with the lead, as he made a point-blank stop of Matt Halischuk on a shorthanded breakaway. They would leave the ice with a 25-17 edge in shots.
The third period was dominated much like the second by the Red Wings. The vast majority of it was all defensive pressure, but the Wings managed to break it late. At 17:01, Johan Franzen roofed a backhand into the net from point-blank for his 9th of the season. It was assisted on by Valtteri Filppula and Daniel Cleary. They would put up another at 18:41, as Nashville pulled their goaltender, and Justin Abdelkader took a pass from Zetterberg to center-ice and put in the empty netter for the final score of 3-0.
The Good: The offense is finding ways to go to the net and generate chances. They’re figuring out that they won’t win games by playing perimeter-hockey.
The Bad: Those defensive breakdowns that cause breakaways are not helping them at all. They need to tighten up the back end on all facets. There’s no room for error at this point of the season.
The Hopeful: If we can continue to watch Danny DeKeyser develop at the rate he currently is, we could have a very dependable veteran defensman on our hands in just a few short seasons. He’s a very, very welcome addition at this point.
The Red Wings get 2 nights off, and then get back to it in Calgary to take on the Flames in another do-or-die game in this playoff push.