The Red Wings went out Saturday night and put up a dominating performance on the Predators with a 5-2 victory. While there were stretches where Nashville took the play to Detroit (most noticeably the first five minutes of the game), the Red Wings were able to weather the storm and capitalize on their chances in front of a good defensive performance and an impressive offensive output against a goaltender whose GAA was under 2.00 for the season.
The Wings outshot the Preds 28-25 on the night and killed off all five Nashville power play opportunities (although their first goal was scored seconds after the expiration of a power play). They didn't improve much on their 18.8% power play efficiency by going 1 for 5, but that one extended a streak of consecutive games with a man-advantage tally to eight. Let's get to the CSSI.
Chris Osgood played a very strong game, posting his first game with a save percentage above .900 since his first game of the season against Chicago. I'm still not to the point where I don't pucker at least a little every time a puck heads his way, but I was a lot calmer once Detroit built a four-goal lead. Neither of Nashville's two goals against are weak goals and he made three very strong stops on the night for an overall rating of +3.
Scoring and plus/minus analysis after the jump
1st Period 12:11 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (snap shot) from Henrik Zetterberg and Ruslan Salei
Datsyuk blocks a shot in his own zone and controls the puck up ice into the Nashville zone. He heads to the half-boards while Holmstrom streaks to the front of the net. Datsyuk feeds Holmstrom in front, but the Swedish Redwood runs out of room before being able to make a play on Rinne, instead taking the puck behind the net where he finds Ruslan Salei sneaking in from the point. Salei gets off a hot shot which is blocked by Rinne straight to Zetterberg behind the net. Zetterberg tries to bank the puck off of a scrambling Rinne, but the Finnish Pekka (heh) jumps over it and the puck ends up on Datsyuk's stick out front for a goal into the wide open net. Holmstrom gets an assist for his feed to Salei out front. No plus/minus adjustments on this play. I think everybody on the ice did a good job at some point on this play and everybody's plus rating for the goal was well-earned.
1st Period 18:24 - Detroit Goal: Brad Stuart (tip in) from Johan Franzen and Nicklas Lidstrom
This play starts on a line change as Drew Miller forechecks to allow the fourth line to change for the second. He forces two Predators together deep and helps cause a turnover when Cody Franson tries a cross-ice clear that Todd Bertuzzi tips back deep. A second clearing attempt by Nashville in their own zone is broken up by Valtteri Filppula, who gets it to Lidstrom on the point. Lidstrom starts the cycle over by throwing it deep into the zone to Bertuzzi, who carries the puck back around in front and finds Lidstrom again, this time in the center of the ice on the blue line. Lidstrom releases a low slap shot meant to be tipped by Franzen standing in front of Rinne. The Predators goaltender stops the first attempt, but never covers the puck. Franzen and Stuart both converge on the puck at the same time and Brad Stuart is credited with tipping the goal in. On this play, I'm going to award Franzen and Stuart each a half-goal and half-assist. I'm still not entirely convinced it was Stuart's stick that made contact with the puck to force it in. I think sharing credit here is appropriate. Aside from that, Filppula will get an assist for breaking up the second clearing attempt and feeding the puck to Lidstrom. Bertuzzi will get also get an assist for his part keeping the puck in on the first clearing attempt and also feeding the puck to Nick to give him the opportunity to shoot the puck. Lidstrom makes two excellent decisions in throwing the puck deep under pressure the first time and taking the shot for the tip the second time he has the puck. For this, Lidstrom earns an extra half-plus. Drew Miller will also earn a plus for the forechecking work he did to get this play started, despite that he changed to allow Franzen on the ice immediately afterward.
2nd Period 7:49 - Nashville Goal: Joel Ward (snap shot) from Cody Franson and Cal O'Reilly
This goal is scored right at the completion of a Doug Janik minor for holding. With only four Detroit skaters on the ice, and with Detroit holding the Predators' power play to the outside, Cody Franson tries to throw the puck on net from the half-boards, but it's blocked by Salei and goes back to Franson. Taking immediate advantage of how Detroit's four-man box was adjusting to the shot, Joel Ward slides into the slot and Filppula is just too slow to react. Ward gets off a perfect shot through a screen by Stuart and Osgood's five-hole as he moves to square to the shooter. This is unfortunate timing for the skaters on the ice, as power play time had just expired as the shot went in. Stuart, Miller, and Salei will not receive a minus. Filppula will get a half-minus for failing to stay with his man on the play. Even on the penalty kill, it's his job to keep the Predators from getting a shot from the middle of the ice that close to the goaltender. Janik keeps his minus on the play for taking the penalty that made them short-handed.
2nd Period 18:42 - Detroit Goal: Pavel Datsyuk (snap shot) from Dan Cleary and Ruslan Salei
After completion of a Detroit power play, the Wings fight for possession on the boards just outside the Nashville zone. Zetterberg fights well for the puck and gets it to Datsyuk to carry in. Pavel gets the puck back to Zetterberg who fights off a couple checks and gets a good scoring chance of his own. The puck rings around the boards on the Zetterberg miss and ends up on Salei's stick; Rusty feeds Cleary along the boards and Cleary pays it forward to Datsyuk in the corner. Pavel protects the puck from his fellow number-13 wearer Nick Spaling. The youngster tries his best to deny Pavel any room, but Dr. Dangle schools him and takes the puck in on Rinne himself, slamming it through Pekka's pads for the goal. Zetterberg will get an assist for his work on the boards and in the zone making this play happen. Datsyuk will get a bonus half-plus for his work on the boards and in taking the puck to the front of the net.
3rd Period 4:18 - Detroit Goal (PP): Tomas Holmstrom (tip in) from Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datysuk
Detroit is on a power play here because J.P. Dumont trips Ruslan Salei. I don't think Salei was doing anything particularly noteworthy to earn a penalty here, so he will not get the bonus plus. The Wings maintain good possession in the zone, culminating in Datsyuk and Lidstrom playing catch at the blue line to shake a Predators penalty killer. Datsyuk takes the guy with him down low before feeding back to Lidstrom at the point. Nick releases another tippable slap shot that's headed slightly wide before Holmstrom gets his stick on it in front and redirects it past RInne. This is a vintage goal by this unit; No scoring changes on the play.
3rd Period 6:26 - Detroit Goal: Patrick Eaves (wrist shot) from Darren Helm and Drew Miller
Picking up a rebound off of Osgood's pads, Drew Miller picks up the puck and carries it into Nashville's zone to the half-boards. After buying Helm enough time to get deep, Miller dishes to him in the corner. While this is developing, Eaves comes to the center of the zone from the far point and finds the open area to receive a pass from Helm for a one-timer through RInne. All three forwards do their jobs very well and earn their pluses. I am going to vacate Kindl's plus on this play, as he had only stepped onto the ice for Kronwall since Miller started up ice. Salei will keep his plus because he had been part of the defense that stopped the Nashville chance prior to the goal.
3rd Period 9:39 - Nashville Goal: Kevin Klein (slap shot) from Shea Weber and Steve Sullivan
Nashville's Sullivan carries the puck into the Wings zone as the Predators come in to attack. Here, Drew Miller chases his man far too deep into the defensive zone. If Miller drops his coverage where he should, he would likely have been able to stop the cross-ice pass that Sullivan lays to Shea Weber on the far side. Eaves almost gets a stick on it, but misses it and goes crazy with grief (apparently), as he completely forgets it's his job to cover the point and heads deep into the zone. Weber carries the puck low with Osgood out tracking and challenging him. Without a shot on net, Weber carries around the back of the net and feeds out to Klein for a slap shot from the point. Osgood was back in position by this time, but was screened by the four Red Wings skaters who were caught out of position on this play. By the time the pass comes to Klein, Brad Stuart is the Wing farthest up ice. Nick Lidstrom is the only player here besides Osgood who doesn't blow his coverage. For that, Lidstrom will not get the minus that the other four receive.
+1 to Brad Stuart: Aside from blowing his coverage on the Klein goal, Stuart had another good night. Later in the third, when the game was not guaranteed, he found himself playing goaltender, stopping a shot headed into a wide-open net. Saving a sure goal is worth a plus in my book.
+1 to Jakub Kindl: I feel badly for taking away the plus on the Eaves goal, but he didn't really deserve it. Fortunately, he earned himself a plus elsewhere in this game with some very strong plays in both zones. I thought this was his most solid game as a Red Wing so far.
-0.5 to Doug Janik: Janik had another inconsistent performance. He negated a good scoring chance in the first, but that chance only happened because he had made two errors on the play leading up to that. Turnovers and slow decisions continue to plague him. Believe me, I don't hate Doug Janik; I just hate his play with the Red Wings.
All in all a good night for the Wings. Next up, they fly to Calgary to take on the Flames for the 2nd time this season.