As great as they looked in defeating the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night, the Nashville Predators did a complete 180-degree tonight in Detroit, as the Red Wings manhandled them 5-2. Adding injury to insult, Shea Weber left the game in the first period with an apparent problem with his wrist, and did not return. With the win, Detroit crept to within 3 points of Nashville for 7th position in the Western Conference, and snapped the Predators' three-game winning streak.
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This one started ugly and just got worse from there. The Red Wings carried the play right from the outset, gaining an 11-5 shooting edge in the first period and a 2-0 lead on the scoreboard. Then, before the midway point of the second period, Darren Helm added two goals of his own, including a shorthanded marker that left Ryan Suter visibly frustrated as he knew gave the Detroit forward to much room to make a play.
Even though J.P. Dumont made a superb play to create an offensive chance and a goal to make it 4-1 heading into the second intermission, the third period saw Nashville muster only 3 (yes, 3) shots on net the rest of the way. I could go through the game in gruesome detail, but it's not for the faint of heart. The Red Wings were a motivated bunch after having been stomped on home ice by Vancouver on Wednesday, while the Preds looked like a team that had just played the night before (which they had).
Another sign of the Red Wings' dominance was on the faceoff circle, where they won 32 of 45 draws. In general, faceoffs aren't that big a part of hockey games as the split is usually close to 50/50, but a margin that large meant that Detroit enjoyed a significant advantage in puck possession time.
Probably the Predators' best player tonight was Dan Ellis; I don't know that you could blame him for any of the Detroit goals, and he made many outstanding saves that prevented things from getting completely out of hand.
A Calamitous Night for Klein
Among the skaters, there were plenty of culprits, with the most egregious probably being Kevin Klein. He was embarrasingly pick-pocketed by Pavel Datsyuk leading to Detroit's first goal, and he baffled observers by backing off Darren Helm in the slot in the second period, giving Helm all the room he needed to wheel and fire a wrist shot over Ellis' shoulder.
Plus/Minus is certainly a flawed metric, but Klein's -14 sticks out on this team like a sore thumb. Among players who have spent more than 25 games with the Predators this season, only three players have a minus - Martin Erat (-6), Steve Sullivan (-4), and Joel Ward (-1). If "accountability" is truly a quality that drives this team, then it boggles the mind why Klein continues to get Top Four ice time on defense.
Once again, we see that among the forwards, ice time was apportioned very evenly; one thing I plan to touch on next week is that this team may actually have the most depth since the 2007 squad that threatened for the Presidents Trophy; the top-end talent may not quite live up to that team's level, but I'd warrant that Nashville's 3rd and 4th lines compare favorably to most in the NHL, and this should serve as a strength down the stretch as four-game weeks take their toll on star forwards playing 20+ minutes a night.
Colin Wilson I thought had a rough outing tonight, throwing pucks around in the offensive zone that were easily retrieved and brought up-ice by the Red Wings. Francis Bouillon had a workmanlike, inspired game that included a crushing hit on Valteri Filppula at the blueline.
|Even Strength||Individual Totals||Team Totals While Player Is On Ice|
|Player||Pos||EV TOI||Shots||Shts Blkd||Missed Shts||Blocks||SOG For||SOG Ag||SOG +/-||Tot SF||Tot SA||Corsi|
|J P Dumont||R||11:53||1||1||1||0||3||2||1||8||7||1|