It's not often that a game in mid-February puts you on the edge of your seat. Tonight was one of those nights.
In a game that had a playoff atmosphere, the Red Wings were just one shot too much for the Nashville Predators. It was an extremely even game for the most part, but Pavel Datsyuk proved why he was the best player on the ice by scoring with 5 seconds left to earn an extremely valuable 2 points and extend their NHL record home winning streak to 22 games.
This was a tight game. The first period belonged to the Red Wings, who carried the play and maintained puck possession. They were able to get on the board first when Datsyuk, from his back, was able to get the puck to Todd Bertuzzi, who fed it to Johan Franzen. Franzen's shot got past Pekka Rinne to make it 1-0 Wings.
The second period saw the Preds start to take control of the game a little. Nashville started to get aggressive on the forecheck, creating turnovers and forcing the Wing defense to move the puck quicker than they wanted to. This pressure paid off when Jordan Tootoo hounded Jakub Kindl. Kindl lost the puck to Tootoo, and he got the puck to Nick Spaling, who beat Joey MacDonald to tie the game at 1 heading into the third.
Mike Babcock switched things up in the third, reuniting the Eurotwins, and boy did it pay off. That line dominated the period, and just when it seemed like we were headed to overtime, Nicklas Lidstrom's backhand pass found Henrik Zetterberg, and he got the puck to a streaking Datsyuk who absolutely undressed Ryan Suter and beat Rinne top corner to give the Wings one of their most exciting wins of this streak.
After the jump, I present the first ever "obvious statements are obvious" recap.
- The NHL Network is terrible at airing live NHL games. I'd take watching a game on NBCSNVSOLN; at least they don't miss 30 seconds of game action for a "live look in".
- Happy 55th birthday to Drew Miller. You look like an old man. You're also having a good year.
- Sprawled out on the ice, streaking through the zone, or just standing around, it doesn't matter: Pavel Datsyuk is better than anyone on the Predators. He's also the Player of the Game.
- Either Ryan Suter or Shea Weber is going to sign with Detroit just so that Datsyuk can't make them look silly any more.
- Pekka Rinne is a good goalie.
- Nashville is a tough team to play against.
- Wings have problems with aggressive forechecking teams.
- Imagine how good the Preds would be against the Central if they didn't have to play the Red Wings.
- The Wings allowed too many odd-man rushes tonight. They were lucky every Predator player has the finishing abilities of Darren Helm.
- Joey MacDonald deserves the back up job when Jimmy Howard comes back.
- I guess Henrik Zetterberg's "lower body injury" wasn't that serious after all.
- It was nice to watch a Predators game that didn't involve those stupid whistles.
- I'm sure all Predator fans tried to drown their sorrows with all the bathtub gin they could get from Hazzard County while saying "dang, y'all Wings are good." after Datsyuk's goal. Then they went back to watching CMT or the Rural Farmer's Network or whatever people from that part of the country do while crying for the ten thousandth time that their pesky little team wasn't the lead story on NHL.com and/or CNN.
- 22 straight, and yet it never gets old seeing the Wings win home games.