The Nashville Predators, fresh off a bumpy shootout win over the Arizona Coyotes, headed north to Michigan to face the Detroit Red Wings before going back home for Friday. Kevin Lankinen started in net for the Preds, with Ville Husso tending goal for the Red Wings, as these two former Central Division rivals faced off.
Detroit got off to a strong start, maintaining possession in the offensive zone, but as the period continued the Preds mounted a counterattack, applying increasing pressure low in the Red Wings’ zone and taking over the tail end of the period. Husso had to make some impressive saves, and Jusso Parssinen continued his strong play with the Preds.
The Red Wings drew first blood in the second, as Dylan Larkin collected the puck in the neutral zone, made Lankinen think he was going to pass, and scored neatly himself instead. Mattias Ekholm tried to block the shot, but didn’t manage it. The Preds got a chance to get it back moments later, when Moritz Seider tripped Filip Forsberg and twenty seconds later the Red Wings cleared the puck out of the glass, giving the Preds 1:40 of five-on-three time.
However, the Red Wings’ penalty kill was more than up to the task, invigorating the home crowd and frustrating the Preds. Roman Josi got most of the Preds’ chances on the power play, which isn’t an ideal circumstance. Also not an ideal circumstance: the Preds shortly went to the penalty kill themselves, as Alexandre Carrier tripped Dominik Kubalik.
Lankinen had to make some saves, though he was impeded a little as Ryan McDonagh, trying to block a shot, slid across the ice and into his legs. Just seconds later, Filip Hronek scored to put the Red Wings up 2-0.
That really seemed to frustrate the Predators, as play ground down during the second half of the period. Olli Maatta interfered with Cole Smith, but the Preds’ power play was once again ineffective. Larkin and Oskar Sundqvist had a good shorthanded chance, but Lankinen, like Husso, made the necessary saves.
With nine seconds remaining in the period, a questionable call against Michael McCarron for a hit to the head put the Preds shorthanded again. Despite a late flurry from the Red Wings once the third period began, Lankinen and the Preds were able to kill it off, and the Preds went back on the attack.
Forsberg had a great chance, showing his usual late-game persistence, but Husso had the save. At the other end, Lankinen made an unbelievable save on Kubalik to keep the Preds’ deficit to two. Nashville continued to press the attack, piling on the shots in bunches, but Husso remained up to the task as the clock wound down.
In the dying moments of the game, the Red Wings mounted a counterattack against a tired Preds team. With a little under three minutes left, the Preds pulled Lankinen and managed to go back on the offensive, until Michael Rasmussen scored into the empty net with 22 seconds remaining.