Friday, April 13, 2012

Preds lose Game 2 despite playing 'better game'

The Detroit Red Wings were able to get a crucial 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Friday night in front of a raucous sold-out crowd at Bridgestone Arena. With the win, the Red Wings have tied the series at one game apiece, and now have home ice advantage on their side in the series.

After Wednesday night's controversial incident between Shea Weber and Henrik Zetterberg along the boards at the end of the game, Todd Bertuzzi decided to make Weber answer for his actions. Bertuzzi and Weber squared off just 1:36 into the game. If Detroit was going to respond to the Weber incident, Bertuzzi was likely going to be the man to do so. He did, and that puts the incident to rest.

"I thought it was important for our team that that happened. I kind of expected that was what was going to happen and it was good it did, so good for him," said Detroit Head Coach Mike Babcock.

Nashville got several scoring opportunities throughout the game, but simply were unable to cash in when they needed too. The Predators dominated the play for the first five minutes of the first period but failed to put one past Jimmy Howard.

"I think we actually played a better game than the game we won. We were all over them in the beginning and had a lot of good chances. Just couldn't bury it," said Predators defenseman Roman Josi.

Detroit got two goals in the first period to take the air out of the Nashville crowd. Ian White had time to maneuver from the point, and fired a wrist shot that beat Pekka Rinne on the blocker side. Cory Emmerton gave the Red Wings a two-goal lead on a great all-around play. He blocked a shot by Kevin Klein in the Detroit zone, and then took the puck all the way down the ice and beat Rinne on the blocker side with a well-placed wrist shot.

In the second period, the Predators got three straight power plays to open the period. Despite several quality scoring chances, the Predators were unable to convert on any of their power play opportunities. They went 0-for-6 on the power play on the night.

Nashville had the number one power play in the NHL in the regular season. However, it has been a thorn in their side so far this series. The Predators had six power play opportunities on Wednesday night but were unable to convert on any of them. Even though the Predators had more quality chances while on the power play in Game 2, they were still unable to beat Howard with the man advantage.

"We didn't play a good power play in the first game, but today I thought we moved it pretty well. We got a lot of chances on the PP and just couldn't find the back of the net," Josi said.

Andrei Kostitsyn finally got the Predators on the board at 9:01 of the second period when he fired a quick wrist shot from the slot that beat Howard high on the glove side. However, Detroit responded with a goal of their own just 56 seconds later to squash Nashville's momentum. The puck deflected off of Johan Franzen after a Brad Stuart shot and went into the net.

The Predators were able to get one back 15:16 into the third period when Weber scored on a nifty backhand shot from the slot. Andrei Kostitsyn nearly tied the game for the Predators on the next shift but hit the post. Detroit was able to hold on for the win and tie the series.

Detroit will host the Predators at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning for Game 3 of the series. Nashville was able to get a big victory at Joe Louis Arena on March 30, which should give them confidence going into hostile territory on Sunday.

"That was big. We see that we can beat them in their building. We did it before, so we're not scared to go there," Josi said.

Hockey Night in Nashville's 3 Stars of the game:
1. Jimmy Howard(DET)
2. Cory Emmerton(DET)
3. Johan Franzen(DET)

Official 3 Stars:
1. Jimmy Howard(DET)
2. Johan Franzen(DET)
3. Cory Emmerton(DET)

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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