The Red Wings skated into a statement game against the Predators with a seven-point lead and a game in hand over them for first place in the Central Division. Unfortunately, they skated into quicksand and lost the game in disheartening fashion. Seemed even with a better start, the harder the WIngs tried to play well, the deeper over their heads they ended up. By the time it was said and done, Detroit skated off the ice with their heads hung.
I don't even want to talk about special teams, so I won't.
Jimmy Howard started and gave up four. None of them were particularly his fault, but he didn't play great. He made one big save in the half the game he played for a +1 rating. Joey MacDonald came in to play the second half of the game and held firm. It's worth saying that already down 4-0, there's basically no pressure on him to perform. He managed three big saves in his half of the game though, so he will get a +3 rating.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 3:09 - Nashville Goal: Martin Erat (wrist shot) from Marcel Goc and Sergei Kostitsyn
On a routine breakout, Kindl passes to Holmstrom at center ice. Homer is met with two Predators on the boards and turns it over, as he can't get it past Kostitsyn while trying to find Miller moving through center with speed. The lesser-Kostitsyn gets it to Goc, who essentially turns it into a 2-on-1 against Salei as he enters the zone with and then passes to Erat. Erat then skates to the dot looking off the pass the entire way before rifling a wrist shot over Howard's glove. This is something of an unfortunate play, but there are mistakes here. Kindl passes to Holmstrom in double coverage, but he's not presented with a lot of alternatives. Holmstrom just misses a pass that springs Miller through center with speed also. Ultimately, I'm going to halve Miller's minus, halve Salei's minus, clear Abdelkader's minus, and give both Holmstrom and Kindl an extra half-minus. Miller just gets a half because he's part of what forces Kindl to make a bad pass. Salei's is halved because he's in good position to cover Goc as he drives the net on the 2-on-1, but he might have been able to stop the shot. I know that's not his job, but there wasn't a lot of separation between the two preds.
1st Period 14:13 - Nashville Goal: David Legwand (wrist shot) from Ryan Suter
The Predators are cycling the puck around the Wings zone, as Legwand carries around the side high in the zone. He's on his way to getting pinched off when he throws a backhand deeper into the zone that somehow gets past Lidstrom to Hornqvist standing behind him. Hornqvist goes to the net and tries to jam it in, but Howard stops that. The rebound sits in front until Kronwall gets to it and attempts to clear it into the corner. The puck deflects off Sullivan and bounces back in front. Cleary picks that up and tries to skate with it, but Legwand is on him immediately. The Predators forward takes the puck away and dishes it back to Suter at the point with lots of room. Suter fires a slap shot through traffic which bounces off of Howard straight to Legwand on the other side to put it home before Howard can get into position. Nobody is getting anything cleared here, as there was a lot of chasing going on, but I have to give Lidstrom an extra minus and Kronwall a half-minus. Lidstrom missing that first Legwand pass was completely unlike him, but it's the crux of the whole play with Hornqvist standing behind him. Kronwall is unfortunate to have the first clear go off Sullivan, but doesn't recover well. It's tough to say which exact coverage was blown here on this play, as Kronwall has to pick up Sullivan coming into the middle while Lidstrom is covering Hornqvist. Ideally, Cleary is low to pick up Legwand, but he had lost his stick when Legwand stole the puck from him and went up to gather it. Hudler likely should have recognized this and come down to pick up Legwand, but this all happened lightning-fast. As a result, I'm awarding Cleary an extra minus though. Losing positioning and the puck to Legwand was another crucial mistake.
2nd Period 1:03 - Nashville Goal: Colin Wilson (wrist shot) from Jerred Smithson and Joel Ward
A dump-in to Howard's right turns distastrous as Kindl is slow to the puck behind the net and loses it when Joel Ward, who has just separated from Ruslan Salei, steps in to poke it over to Smithson. Smithson passes to Wilson for a shot on net. Howard stops the first point-blank shot, but Wilson picks up the rebound at the side and puts it home. Kindl gets a minus. He took the wrong angle behind the net and did not skate hard to retrieve the puck. Salei gets a minus here for not staying in Joel Ward's way. At some point, he needs to just turn around and go to the puck. Helm gets a minus for inexplicably skating behind the net to help where coverage is not needed and opening the passing lane to Wilson. Draper keeps his minus for not tying up Wilson's stick. Finally, Eaves is the only player cleared of his minus on this play.
2nd Period 10:26 - Nashville Goal (PP): Sergei Kostitsyn (wrist shot) from Patric Hornqvist and Shea Weber
Nashville gets a power play because Jakub Kindl decides to cop a feel on Marty Erat. On the power play, Shea Weber gets off a slap shot from the point into traffic. Hornqvist tips it into Howard, but Kostitsyn is there to put in the rebound. Kindl gets the only minus for taking the penalty.
Penalty Adjustment: With the Wings finally playing with urgency after giving up four goals and getting their own goaltender chased, Johan Franzen finally draws a penalty as he gets behind Erat while going to the middle, forcing Erat to get his stick in. Franzen gets a plus.
2nd Period 16:02 - Detroit Goal: Ruslan Salei (wrist shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Danny Cleary
The Wings put on pressure late in the second, as a Nashville clearing attempt barely clears the zone after a Kindl step-up, but it doesn't make it to the streaking forwards, getting them caught. Bertuzzi dishes to Cleary to enter the zone. Cleary skates in and gives time for the Wings to set up the play before backhanding it lower in the zone to Zetterberg. Hank dances it around Klein after he goes down to block a shot at the boards. Z throws it at the crease as Salei crashes the net. Rinne stops the initial shot, but can't hold off the inevitable Salei awesomeness as Detroit scores their first goal. Kindl made a good step-up helping to make this play happen and will get a half-plus for it. Getting to it quickly and starting it back into the zone is good for a half-assist for Bertuzzi as well.
Penalty Adjustment: Pavel Datsyuk hooking. Sure, why not? Pavel gets a minus. Replay pretty clearly shows an obvious hook.
-1 to Johan Franzen: Aside from the drawn penalty, Franzen was not engaged in this game and not moving his feet. In general, most of the Wings were stymied by the hard-working Predators, but Franzen made their job easier on him.
-1 to Danny Cleary: I don't know if it would have counted with Bertuzzi tying up Rinne, but he missed a wide-open net from 15 feet that just might have added some jump to the team's game.
+1 to Henrik Zetterberg: Hank drew two penalties that I thought were more a result of bad plays by Predators than his forcing anything, but that counts for something and will get him a plus.
+1 to Jonathan Ericsson: It's weird to do this considering how terrible he's been lately, but when the rest of the defense looked pretty terrible, Ericsson quietly had a solid good game, especially since he had to make up for a few Rafalski mistakes. He didn't play mistake-free either, but I felt the good plays outweighed the bad enough to give him a plus.
Honorable mentions: Rafalski, like Ericsson made some good and some bad plays, but I don't feel Raffi's good outweighed his bad. Datsyuk played with good hustle, but he was unable to break free and really create many chances. His wrist seems to still be bothering him a little bit.