If that was the way the Red Wings are going to respond to their biggest game of the season, then this could be a short spring.
After putting forth one of their worst performances of the season Wednesday night against the Blue Jackets, the Wings headed back home for a showdown with the Predators, a team that has been chasing them all year in the standings. With a matchup in the first round between these two teams all but set, tonight's game was about putting one team in the driver's seat for fourth place that all-important home ice advantage.
What the Wings did was improve on their play in Columbus, but not by much. And that kind of effort was not nearly good enough against a determined Nashville team. The Predators built up a 3-goal lead and coasted to a 4-1 victory, leapfrogging Detroit into 4th place in the West and putting Detroit in a position where they need help to start the playoffs at home.
There's a lot of anger brewing after this one. Follow the jump for details.
- I can't help but be very angry at this team. I just don't get how they can look that flat in what is arguably their biggest game of the season. That was a very passive performance, as they didn't look willing or able to power past the trap that the Preds would set up in the neutral zone time after time.
- The Wings are going to have to do something with the Datsyuk line, because Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen and killing Pavel out there. A lot of people want to point to Franzen as the anchor that's pulling down that line, but Big Bert was a -18 Corsi tonight, easily the worst on the team. We talked about it last game, but Gustav Nyquist has got to get some time in the top-6 with Datsyuk and Franzen, because he can't be any worse than Bertuzzi was tonight.
- I felt pretty bad that Jimmy Howard didn't get any goal support. The rust was evident on a few shots as he seemed to be a split second slower in reacting to shots, but it sounds like he didn't re-injure himself, so this game counts as a win.
- Once again the best forward line for the Wings was the Zetterberg-Filppula-Hudler line, but there should have been at least 2 or 3 more chances by those three had they not looked for the perfect pass and just fired the puck. Pekka Rinne was fantastic tonight (his save on Zetterberg when it was still 1-0 was the turning point of the game), but the Wings made things very easy on him with a lot of shots from the perimeter that he was able to see very clearly.
- The power play looked dangerous tonight, which is a good sign. The Rinne save on Zetterberg was while the Wings were up a man, and they created a number of good chances but just couldn't put the puck in the net. I'm going to call this the "silver lining" bullet.
- Ultimately it was yet another case of the Wings not bringing the effort that is necessary to win an important game. I wish this was the first time we've said that and it was just a letdown game, but this has become a recurring theme of this team all season.