Another close game escaped the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night as the Predators used two third period goals to force overtime.
Niklas Kronwall opened the scoring for both teams in the 1st period on a powerplay goal. Kronwall received a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and fired a slapshot past Pekka Rinne for his 6th goal of the season and a 1-0 Detroit lead. Zanon was in the box for the Predators, who allowed 2 powerplay goals on 4 chances, odd for the team that is ranked 4th in league in success rate.
Scott Nichol scored the first goal for the Predators at 6:18 of the 2nd period on a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle. Osgood undoubtedly had trouble seeing the shot with four players, 2 Nashville 2 Detroit, in front of him when the shot was fired. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom scored the second powerplay goal of the game and his 16th goal of the year on a slapshot from the point with under a minute to play in the 2nd.
Johan Franzen continues to produce as he tallied his 34th goal of the season on a wrister from the slot to make it 3-1 Detroit with 18 minutes left in the game. Franzen showed his great awareness of open spaces in opposing defenses, finding the seam and receiving a great pass from Henrik Zetterberg before putting the puck past Rinne.
Despite a two goal deficit, the Predators kept chipping away and getting chances in the Detroit zone. Jason Arnott scored Nashville's second goal following a lazy pass from Lidstrom to Rafalski. Arnott intercepted the pass right in front of Osgood and gave him little time to react, firing one shot on goal and then stuffing the rebound.
With less than 7 minutes to play following Arnott's goal, the Predators kept the attack going. Kronwall took a penalty for tripping at 17:08 and gave the Predators a chance to tie the game. Eight seconds remained in the powerplay when J.P. Dumont put a rebound past Osgood for a tied game and a subsequent overtime period.
Nashville and Detroit combined for only three shots in the supplemental period of play, forcing a shootout. In the shootout, Jiri Hudler squeaked one past Rinne but his goal was matched by Ville Koistenen. Following a Rinne save on Dan Cleary, Jason Arnott netted the decisive goal and ended the game 4-3 Nashville.
Nashville needed the victory and two points and benefited from another late defensive lapse on the part of the Red Wings to get the points. With one game left, the Predators sit at 88 points, tied with Anaheim and St. Louis. St. Louis and Anaheim both benefit from having two remaining games left to take the 7th/8th spots over Nashville.
Detroit's next game is Saturday as the Chicago Blackhawks come to visit in the first game of a home and home series to close out the regular season.
Casey's Red Wing of the Game: Henrik Zetterberg. Hank didn't score but set up two goals, registered 3 shots, and led all Detroit forwards in icetime.