The Red Wings welcomed the Nashville Predators into the Joe Louis Arena on All Hallows' Eve Eve and handed them their second regulation loss in a row, doubling their total on the season. Pavel Datsyuk scored two and added an assist on another strong effort while Nick Lidstrom had a pair of helpers himself. To top it all off, Chris Osgood put up the very strong performance he needed, stopping 23 of Nashville's 25 shots on the night.
Datsyuk started the scoring in the first period by picking up a puck in front after some very good work by the entire line left Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne somewhere near Windsor, giving Pavs the open net. Brad Stuart added one later in the period to put the Wings ahead 2-0 after one. Nashville came out in the second period with some good push and added a tally of their own on a Joel Ward goal seconds after a power play expired for them. Datsyuk was having none of this comeback crap though and potted what would be the eventual game-winner on a fantastic individual effort late in the 2nd. Tomas Holmstrom kept the Wings' streak of consecutive games with a power play goal alive with a great tip-in past Rinne 4:18 into the third period and Patrick Eaves found the back of the net just over two minutes later for Detroit's 5th of the night. Unfortunately, with a little over ten minutes left in the game, Kevin Klein ended the not-quite-a-shutout-but-closer-than-having-given-up-two bid for Osgood after the Wings defense formed a conga line in front of him and forgot about playing hockey.
On to the bullet points!
Justin Abdelkader did seem to improve the play of the third line, but they remained scoreless on the night. Although I liked his energy tonight, I'd like to see sooner rather than later how Hudler will react to his benching. Maybe Modano will get his turn on Wednesday? (Yeah, not likely, but a guy can dream, can't he? Ok, ok, I don't know why I'm dreaming of Modano... no YOU shut up)
- Doug Janik is still not good enough for NHL hockey. I know he's a better option than only dressing five or calling up another guy from Grand Rapids who's more mistake-prone than he is, but the guy just exudes dumb out there. Justin (not Jason) Bourne at Puck Daddy wrote an article about good hockey sense that had a piece about the angle players take to cut off pucks and how that relates to their hockey sense. If Doug Janik were a hockey Jedi in training, he'd get shot to hell by that little floating training ball thingy.
- Another relatively quiet night by the second line. They probably just spoiled me early because they did actually have a goal tonight and played pretty well. I don't know what I'm really expecting out of them, but it seems like anything less than two goals a night isn't good enough.
- Pavel Datsyuk has been known throughout his career as a slow starter. If that holds true, look for him to get hot later in the season and end the year with 250 points.
- Did I mention that Osgood had a good night already? Yes, well it bears repeating. Osgood put on his 2008 mask and went trick-or-treating as a great goaltender. There were a lot of questions going into the game as to whether he could put together a full 60 minute game and he answered them with a resounding yes. Also, I'm glad he got to put together a full 60 minutes after Shea Weber tried to kill him with a slapshot 18 minutes into the third period. He should be forced to carry a permit for that thing.
- Did Marty Erat play tonight? Man, that guy sucks.
- If you weren't listening to the Fox Sports Detroit feed tonight, you missed out on some awesome. Sometime during the second period, Murph and Mickey drank from the same bottle of absynthe and went off about using broken hockey sticks as tomato planters and handing out broken sticks to kids. Then, Mick topped it all off by saying he was going to give out hot dogs on Halloween so Murphy would stop by. I think at that point, Ken Daniels sent a series of text messages to his agent asking for a rider for personal security in the press box from now on.
- Except for Janik, I thought the Wings defense had a good night. There were stretches when the Predators kept the pressure up and a few lapses, but I like what I saw from Salei, Kindl, Stuart, and Kronwall. Lidstrom was Lidstrom tonight too.
Pending the outcome of three games tonight, Detroit went from last place in the Central to first place. I'm really starting to hate how well the other teams in the division have started. The good news is that we're 2-0 against those teams so far. Cut your vacation plans next week short because the schedule-makers only gave the Wings three days off between games this week. Wednesday night, Detroit takes on the Flames in their own building.