Thursday, December 15, 2011

Preds complete thrilling comeback despite Detroit's offensive zone dominance

The Nashville Predators were able to extend their winning streak in a thrilling 4-3 comeback victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night in front of a sold out crowd at Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville got two late goals from Shea Weber, and the crowd went into a playoff-like roar as the Predators took the 4-3 lead. Detroit would make a late push at Pekka Rinne, but the Predators were able to hold on for the win.

"What a game. It's probably our biggest rivalry in the league and it's always a pretty intense game against Detroit. We were expecting that before the game, and the crowd was there tonight. It was so nice to win," said Predators defenseman Francis Bouillon.

Detroit took the early 1-0 lead in the first period on a power play goal by Tomas Holmstrom. Rinne made the original save but Holmstrom was able to corral the rebound for the goal.

Nashville would respond almost five minutes later when David Legwand scored on a great second effort play. Craig Smith fed the puck to Legwand for the one-timer, and Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard made the original save. Legwand stuck with the play, however, and was able to lift the second attempt over Howard to tie the game at one.

In the second period, the Red Wings would capitalize on another power play goal at 10:03 of the period when Henrik Zetterberg fired one past Rinne. A little over a minute later, Nicklas Lidstrom gave the Red Wings a 3-1 lead when he fired a shot from the point that found it's way through Rinne.

The Predators needed a momentum shift as the second period was coming to a close. They got it from Jordin Tootoo. Tootoo was able to collect a rebound in the slot and fire it into a wide open net to bring the Predators within one goal at the end of the second period.

The intensity level went up in the third period. Several long, intense battles for the puck took place in the Nashville zone, which was personified by an extremely physical battle on the boards between Bouillon and Jiri Hudler.

"When you play an intense game like that, it's the way you have to expect to play. Both teams want to win, and you want to do anything that is possible to win," Bouillon said.

In the first half of the third period, Detroit was really controlling the play in the Nashville end. They had several long shifts in the Predators' defensive zone, which caused Bouillon and Kevin Klein to be out there for a very long shift.

"Everybody was getting tired, and when you're getting tired you lose focus," Bouillon said.

At 15:14 of the third period, Justin Abdelkader took the first penalty for the Red Wings. That penalty proved costly. Weber fired a blazing one-timer from the point just 22 seconds into the power play that tied the game at three.

Weber scored the game-winning goal at 18:24 of the period to propel the Predators to their fourth consecutive victory. The comeback effort wasn't as stunning as the game in Columbus last Thursday, but it was still an impressive third period showing by Nashville.

"It showed a lot of character. Everybody knows that there is a lot of character on this team. A game like tonight always makes you feel better, especially against a team like that. I don't know what their record was before the game, but it's probably the best team in the league right now. It's going to give us a lot of confidence," Bouillon said.

Nashville will now turn its attention to the St. Louis Blues, who have also won four straight games. The Blues will make their first trip of the season to Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Shea Weber(NSH)
2. Jordin Tootoo(NSH)
3. Nicklas Lidstrom(DET)

Official 3 Stars:
1. Shea Weber(NSH)
2. Jordin Tootoo(NSH)
3. Nicklas Lidstrom(DET)

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