Detroit finished out their latest road trip on Saturday night in a rematch against a Nashville Predators team that squeaked out a last-minute 3-2 victory when the two teams last met on Thursday. By the time the dust settled, the Wings pulled even on the season series with a 4-2 victory that was not particularly as close as the 4-2 final score hinted.
To start things off, we had a few notable lineup changes: Jonathan Bernier returned from injury to take the start, Luke Glendening rejoined the lineup in place of Darren Helm who was injured on Thursday, and Valtteri Filppula came back in for Givani Smith who... I guess needed a rest. I mean he is ALMOST 23 years old now.
Both teams started somewhat tight and tentative, but Detroit did come out of the gate with more pep in their step. It didn’t take too long for Val Filppula to show flashes of his old self as he took a nice feed from Filip Hronek, somehow tricked Pekka Rinne into believing he was going to shoot, and then raced behind the net to find a wide-open Robbi Fabbri to open the scoring at 1-0 Detroit.
Eight minutes later, the Wings extended their lead to 2-0 on an end-to-end rush from Adam Erne that I saw best described as the Wal-Mart version of the famous Pavel Datsyuk goal against these same Predators. Seriously:
It’s absolutely a goal Pekka Rinne is going to want back, but I don’t care.
Nashville pushed a little harder after that and with just three seconds to go in the period with a delayed penalty coming up on Patrik Nemeth for high-sticking, Jonathan Bernier gets deked in front of the net by a wide-open Matt Duchene but makes an incredible stretch to get his glove out to catch the Nashville forward’s attempt to lift it over the pad and into the open net. The period ends 2-0 in Detroit’s favor.
I don’t want to focus on the official scoresheet stuff from this period as much, but I do want to get out of the way that the Wings killed a total of four power plays during the middle frame (unfortunately three of them were their own) and also added another hilarious backhand goal, this time from the master of the craft himself Luke Glendening.
Ken and Mick had pointed out during the first period when he assisted on Erne’s tally that this was Glendening’s first point in 42 games. This goal (off a great entry breakup by Stecher) was his 2nd point on the night.
Aside from that being the only goal of the period, this was the most dominating period of play for the Red Wings this season. They outshot the Predators 15-4. Nashville didn’t get to double digits on their shots total until very late into the middle frame and the Wings took a 3-0 lead into that intermission.
The third is where score effects kicked in and Nashville did show more fight. They did outscore the Wings 2-1 in this last 20 minutes but never got Detroit’s lead closer than two. There was a bit of a dodgy period after it was 3-1 where there did seem a danger of the quicksand effect starting, but fortunately a late goal by Anthony Mantha sealed it and the goal that made it 4-2 by Rocco Grimaldi was truly a garbage-time goal. Let’s get you caught up on the highlights for those:
3-1 Goal (Filip Forsberg, courtesy Marc Staal’s skate)
4-1 Goal from Anthony Mantha
(Also Luke Glendening’s third point of the night)
4-2 goal by Rocco Grimaldi
Overall a very satisfying win for the team. It’s good to see them get some puck luck for a change. I don’t think anybody had a bad night. Dylan Larkin was absent from the scoresheet, but he was a force on the ice on each of his shifts, putting eight shots on goal throughout this one. On the defensive end, I thought Troy Stecher played an amazing game and Filip Hronek really looks like he’s getting back to form after some early-season concerns.
Up next, the Wings start a homestand on Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks.