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Recap: Brendan Smith shines for Red Wings in 3-2 win over Predators

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Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

After enjoying a short Holiday break, the Red Wings looked to get back on track after a frustrating loss at the hands of the New Jersey Devils. Detroit was able to do just that thanks to some fantastic play by Brendan Smith, and Riley Sheahan.

With the big win, comes big earnings in terms of the standings. Before we touch on that, here is my period-by-period recap with some visuals included:

First Period:

After a somewhat eventless start to the game, Brendan Smith opened the scoring with an absolute rocket. The play developed right off of a faceoff in Nashville's zone, Brad Richards won the faceoff, which lead to Pavel Datsyuk feeding the puck to Alexey Marchenko who then gave it off to Smith to fire home:

Unfortunately, Nashville scored pretty much immediately after, and took the wind right out of our sails. Filip Forsberg ripped a shot on his weak side past Petr Mrazek's glove. Something you like to see your goalie stop, but it was one hell of a shot. Also, came off of a three-on-two break.

The rest of the period wasn't much to shake a stick at. Detroit took a couple of penalties, one of which being a too many men (ugh), and then a "high-stick" from Gustav Nyquist, which was offset shortly after by Roman Josi.

At the end of 20 minutes, the score is tied at 1-1. Preds have the edge in shots (6-4), and even-strength shot attempts (15-8).

Second Period:

It didn't take the Predators very long (about 1:16 in) to take a penalty. Craig Smith received two minutes for tripping Pavel Datsyuk, and Riley Sheahan made them pay only a minute or so later:

The Red Wings played a really good game after scoring their second goal. Picked up a lot of steam, and did a great job at keeping it simple. Riley Sheahan's line continued to play extremely well, and was the total highlight point of the period. Until Riley Sheahan got beat on the faceoff (hey, maybe it's important to win these) by Mike Ribeiro. Craig Smith walked into the scrum, and sniped it past Petr Mrazek. Tie game. Team continues to be completely unable to hold onto leads. That's quickly becoming the narrative for this season. 29 shitfts 19:58 1g1a

End of 40, tied at two a piece. Shots in favor of Detroit (15-13), even-strength shot attempts in favor of Nashville (29-28).

Third Period:

With the game tied, the Wings needed to pull away with two points. In a tight division, there's not much room for loss. Detroit had one look on the power-play when Filip Forsberg sent the puck over the glass and received two minutes for delay of game. Unfortunately, they weren't able to put up a goal. The good news is that they were able to pull ahead with the lead at 6:45. A fantastic effort by Tomas Jurco, and Darren Helm got the puck to Brendan Smith at the blue line, who launched the puck at the net. Luke Glendening was standing right on the doorstep to redirect it in past Rinne:

As the game rolled along, the Predators started playing to tie the game, which skewed the possession metrics. Nashville ended up leading in shots (21-20), and owned shot attempts (46-37).

The game closed out as a real nail-biter, of course. Nashville pulled Pekka Rinne, and spent the rest of the game in Detroit's zone trying to make room to get a clear shot at the Red Wings' net-minder. With all of the blown leads this season, and event his game, Detroit managed to come out with a one-goal victory over the Predators.

Observations:

  • Brendan Smith was the player of the game. He played 19:58, saw 29 shifts, and put up one goal and one assist. Great job, Smitty!
  • The line of Tomas Tatar - Riley Sheahan - Tomas Jurco were absolutely fantastic. Every time they were on the ice, they made things happen.
  • Gustav Nyquist didn't put up any points, but he had a fantastic game in terms of defense. I like it when he does that.
  • I'll say that Henrik Zetterberg didn't have the best game. Not a knock on him, but you'd really like to see him capitalize on the chances he got.
  • Did anyone see the Pavel Datsyuk highlight reel during the 2nd intermission and get really sad? Just me? Ok.
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With the Habs and Bruins losing tonight, the Red Wings are now tied for first in the Atlantic division with two games in hand over Montreal. Gotta keep this momentum going as the next nine games consist of eight road games. Let's take this division, boys. LGRW!