Ellis heroics not enough for Predators
Nashville goaltender Dan Ellis did his best to win single-handedly Sunday afternoon in Detroit, but could not score for his teammates.
Johan Franzen took a bouncing puck and swatted it past Ellis at 3:21 of overtime for a 1-0 Detroit win, moving the Red Wings within reach of another Presidents' Trophy.
While Ellis starred with 35 shots, Dominik Hasek earned his fifth shutout of the season with 22 saves for the Red Wings.
The overtime goal snapped Ellis's shutout streak at 233 minutes and 39 seconds. It was a franchise record and the longest in the NHL this season, surpassing Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks.
With the single point for the overtime loss, Nashville (39-31-9) at least temporarily moved out of a tie with Vancouver and Edmonton and into sole possession of eighth in the Western Conference. The Canucks host Calgary later Sunday.
The Predators' surge into the playoff picture has been largely thanks to Ellis, who stopped 152 of 154 shots in four games over the past week, including a pair of shutouts over Columbus.
It was just under two weeks ago that Nashville summoned Pekka Rinne from the American Hockey League as a possible alternative to Ellis and Chris Mason, who were both struggling in net.
Detroit (52-20-7) will likely win a sixth Presidents' Trophy, given to the NHL's top regular season club, possibly as soon as Sunday night.
San Jose needs to win all four of their remaining games, beginning later Sunday against Phoenix, and have Detroit lose their last three to wrest the trophy.
Henrik Zetterberg nearly opened the scoring in the first for Detroit when he split a pair of Nashville defenders and fired a backhand shot that trickled through Ellis's pads and lay in the crease before the goaltender fell back to cover.
Best chance for Nashville came in the 2nd
Zetterberg was again foiled on a chance in the second, with Jiri Hudler victimized twice by the Nashville netminder.
The best chance in regulation for the Predators came when Vernon Fiddler skated in and hit the crossbar behind Hasek in the second.
Detroit outshot Nashville 25-15 over the final 40 minutes of regulation, with Dan Cleary stymied on his shot in the third.
The Predators missed out in overtime, with defenceman Ryan Suter failing to beat Hasek on a breakaway moments before Franzen's goal, the Swede's 26th of the season.
Darren McCarty, who donned a Detroit uniform for a game for the first time in four years on Friday, was a scratch on Sunday, in favour of Aaron Downey.
McCarty, who last played in the NHL for Calgary, has overcome bankruptcy and other personal issues to make a comeback.