Nashville 3, Detroit 2: Preds win Game 3 as Wings can't overcome slow start - Detroit Free Press

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Nashville 3, Detroit 2: Preds win Game 3 as Wings can't overcome slow start - Detroit Free Press
Apr 16th 2012, 06:02

Pekka Rinne deflected pucks with surgical precision in the third period Sunday, stifling the Red Wings' attempt at playing comeback hockey.

Instead of coming back home and building on the good they did in Nashville, the Wings saw the hard work they put in Sunday, at least in the last 20 minutes, amount to nothing as they lost, 3-2, at Joe Louis Arena. The Predators grabbed a 2-1 lead in the series and regained home-ice advantage.

The Wings played shorthanded for almost seven minutes during the first two periods, disrupting their flow, denying them scoring chances and digging them into a two-goal hole from which they couldn't escape, even after pounding Rinne with 19 shots in the last period.

"Trying to score goals when you're chasing, and you put yourself in the box, it's going to hurt you in the long run," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "They do have a good power play, and even if we're not scoring, we're not getting our lines going. That's been hurting us.

"We've got to keep moving our feet. We can't be grabbing on or using our sticks."

Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg scored for Detroit, a good sign, as teams need their stars to stand out all the more in the playoffs. The Predators got goals from two defensemen, Shea Weber and Kevin Klein, and the winner from Sergei Kostitsyn.

Detroit coach Mike Babcock cited going winless on the first four face-offs as part of the problem, but overall, the Wings maintained an upbeat attitude. In the opinion of Jonathan Ericsson, the deserving team has yet to win so far in the series. "In the first game we played, I think we were better than them," he said. "They maybe were even better than us in the second game. I think we were better than them today. But it's about scoring goals."

The Wings didn't get their first one until late in the second period, when Datsyuk schooled Roman Josi, stealing the puck from him and stuffing it around the goal post before Rinne realized what happened. "He caught Pekka napping there a little bit," Jimmy Howard said.

Buffered by having emerged on the winning side, and knowing it's a big club of players who've been stripped by Datsyuk, Josi put the fault on himself. "I knew he was coming from behind. It happened so fast. He lifted my stick and got it. I have to get rid of it, he always does that and you have to know that."

Johan Franzen was a nano-second too late in converting on a power play as the buzzer sounded on the second period, nullifying a goal that would have made it 2-2 going into the third period.


"It would have been nice to tie the game up there," Lidstrom said, "but I thought we still came out with a good push in the third period. We had some chances. Too bad they counterattacked us there and I think they had a two-on-one or three-on-one and scored."

The Wings outshot the Predators, 12-0, to start the third period, and were at 13-2 after 14 minutes. But all the Predators needed was for Klein to pick up Niklas Kronwall's rebound in Detroit's end, tap the puck to Mike Fisher, who forwarded the puck to Kostitsyn as the two took off on an odd-man rush with Brad Stuart the only Wing back. Kostitsyn sent a wrist shot high on Howard, putting the game out of reach. Zetterberg scored with 54 seconds left in regulation.

"We wanted to win today, we knew it was going to be tough," Zetterberg said. "They came out and played really tight, especially when they get the lead. I think second half we had a lot of chances, we played a lot in their end. Unfortunately they got an odd-man rush and scored the third one before we could tie. But we were closing in, we had a few pucks with a few seconds left that could have gone in."

The Wings stuck it to opponents often enough in the regular season, winning games by taking over third periods. If they want to win this series, they had a prime lesson Sunday in how much more difficult it is to pull it off in the playoffs.

"Once we got our head around that you gotta shoot the puck, we were better," Babcock said. "Early in the game we came in and tried to make a nice play all the time. Well they have five people back and doing a good job on the inside. We gotta shoot the puck to break 'em down. If we're going to do that we have to have people go to the net. I thought we did a pretty good job.

"Let's be honest, you look at the game, the puck didn't go in for us. It did for them and we gotta fix that for next game."

Contact Helene St. James: 313-222-2295 or

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More Details: Predators end Joe jinx

Sunday was Nashville's first playoff victory at Joe Louis Arena in seven tries:

Wings 3, Preds 1

Robert Lang had a goal and an assist for the Wings, and Manny Legace stopped 23 shots in net.

Wings 2, Preds 1

The formula for Game 2 was virtually the same: a goal by Lang and 27 saves by Legace.

Wings 4, Preds 1

Detroit took control of the series in Game 5 with goals from four different Wings.

Wings 3, Preds 1

Henrik Zetterberg scored twice in the third period to give Dominik Hasek the win in goal.

Wings 4, Preds 2

Nashville finally scored more than one goal in a playoff game in Detroit, but it wasn't enough.

Wings 2, Preds 1

Johan Franzen's goal just 1:48 into OT -- the Wings' 54th shot of the night -- slipped past Dan Ellis for the victory.

Preds 3, Wings 2

Franzen's goal was waved off at the end of the second period, and Sergei Kostitsyn scored winner with 3:30 left.

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