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Predators drop 4-2 game at Detroit, lose 5th straight

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A lack of offensive execution and a quartet of early penalties doomed the Nashville Predators tonight in Detroit, as they dropped their fifth-straight game 4-2. Despite firing 48 shots on net, they failed to take advantage of an opponent that was back on its heels for much of the night.

Most frustrating of all, those 48 shots on goal don't even include some of the best scoring chances that the Preds created. Steve Sullivan had a breakaway, only to have Jimmy Howard poke-check the puck off his stick; later on, Cal O'Reilly had a wide-open net in front of him but had his shot deflected off the crossbar and out of play.

Follow after the jump for video highlights, reaction, and the advanced even-strength stats...

If video stays blank, check back in a few minutes.

Special teams also played a major difference tonight; as Nashville racked up the first four penalties of the game, Detroit was able to score on two of the power plays - the Preds remain mired with the 26th-ranked PK unit in the NHL, an odd circumstance for a typically good shorthanded team.

On the opposite end, once Nashville got some calls and put their power play to work, the results were less than stellar. Another 0-for-4 night with the man advantage leaves them with the 2nd-worst PP in the league. That, unfortunately, is something we've had to get used to around here.

While they entered the 3rd period down 3-1, an early Shea Weber goal tightened things up with almost 15 minutes left to play. Minutes later, however, Henrik Zetterberg fired a shot from behind the goal line that banked in off of Dan Ellis, which sapped Nashville's momentum and gave Detroit the final 4-2 margin. Ellis ended up with 25 saves on 29 Red Wings shots.

The Preds won't have much time for frustration over this loss, as they immediately head home for a game against the Atlanta Thrashers Saturday night in Nashville. Instead of jostling alongside the #3-6 teams in the Western Conference, the Predators find themselves with Detroit, Calgary and Minnesota on their heels for 7th and 8th, and they need to start notching victories on this upcoming 4-game homestand.

The Preds return home Saturday, January 30 vs. Ilya Kovalchuk and the Atlanta Thrashers. For discounted tickets to this or any other Nashville Predators home game, you can follow this link and use the special offer code "PREDS".

The advanced stats show just how well the Preds tipped the ice in their favor tonight; almost everybody had positive Shots For/Against differentials, especially the line of Smithson-Legwand-Erat.

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
Patric Hornqvist R 15:16 3 0 1 1 11 6 5 16 11 5
Steve Sullivan L 13:59 1 0 0 0 10 8 2 11 11 0
Jason Arnott C 13:41 4 0 0 0 12 5 7 17 8 9
David Legwand C 13:24 3 0 0 1 12 6 6 17 10 7
Cal O'Reilly C 13:13 1 0 1 0 6 6 0 15 11 4
J P Dumont R 13:06 1 1 2 0 7 9 -2 17 13 4
Martin Erat R 12:56 0 2 0 0 12 4 8 19 9 10
Ryan Jones L 11:46 0 0 0 0 6 6 0 12 10 2
Jerred Smithson R 8:38 0 0 0 0 12 4 8 16 6 10
Jordin Tootoo R 8:18 3 1 2 0 7 3 4 11 7 4
Nick Spaling C 6:33 1 0 0 0 4 2 2 7 7 0
Andreas Thuresson R 5:59 1 0 0 0 3 4 -1 7 8 -1
Ryan Suter D 25:43 4 1 1 1 14 9 5 23 19 4
Shea Weber D 20:23 4 2 2 1 14 8 6 27 17 10
Dan Hamhuis D 13:46 2 2 1 0 9 7 2 17 11 6
Francis Bouillon D 13:17 3 0 1 1 12 4 8 16 7 9
Cody Franson D 12:07 2 1 0 0 10 6 4 13 8 5
Kevin Klein D 11:36 1 0 0 1 9 7 2 14 11 3