Red Wings earn split in Nashville with Game 2 win
The Detroit Red Wings may have been mad, but they got even Friday night in Nashville to tie up the Western Conference quarter-final series.
The Wings never trailed in a 3-2 victory in Game 2 at Bridgestone Arena, with goals from Ian White, Cory Emmerton and Johan Franzen. Goalie Jimmy Howard made 24 saves for the victory.
Henrik Zetterberg played but did not factor on the scoresheet. The Swede was slammed headfirst into the boards at the end of Game 1 by Nashville defenceman Shea Weber.
Weber was fined but not suspended, and early in the first period on Friday he was compelled to drop his gloves with Detroit forward Todd Bertuzzi in a spirited battle.
Weber understood Bertuzzi was supporting his teammates.
"I'm sure anyone in here would do the same thing if stuff happened," Weber said.
Nashville coach Barry Trotz considers the incident closed now.
"That's hockey," Trotz said. "Shea's a big boy. He takes care of himself."
With the Wings up 3-1 late in the third, Weber scored with just under five minutes left in the period on a backhander from the slot, but the Predators could not get an equalizing goal.
Detroit jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Nashville got on the board midway through the second on an Andrei Kostitsyn goal, but Franzen and the Red Wings replied just 56 seconds later to quickly quash the home side's momentum.
The Predators are now 0-for-12 on the power play in the series. They finished the regular season with the top man advantage unit in the NHL.
Game 3 will take place at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Hockey Night in Canada on Sunday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 12 p.m. ET).
"We'll take the best-of-five and go back to our building and get out of here," Detroit coach MIke Babcock said. "We'll be a better hockey club. This is a good win for our team. We'll take a step now."
Nashville missed a chance for its first 2-0 series lead in its seventh postseason.
The Predators cut down their penalties from the first game with only two aside from Weber's fighting major. They also outshot and outhit the Red Wings while holding them to the fewest shots Detroit has ever taken against Nashville in the postseason with 17.
Howard had help with his teammates blocking 16 shots.
"And those aren't muffins coming in from the top either," Howard said. "Guys are standing in there and taking them so I have to tip my hat to the guys in front of me."
But goalie Pekka Rinne, who made 35 saves in the opening victory for Nashville, gave up three goals on the first 10 shots he faced.
Nashville missed a couple chances off the post, including after Weber's goal on a shot by Kostitsyn. Howard had a nice pad save on Alexander Radulov on Nashville's first man advantage.
The Red Wings didn't take a shot until Pavel Datsyuk got the puck off a turnover and had a breakaway attempt at 5:00. Rinne easily caught the puck.
White put Detroit up 1-0 at 8:25 of the first when he got the puck from Jiri Hudler and skated up and wristed the puck from just inside the face-off circle. It was Detroit's first lead of the series.
The Predators had some good chances only to see Howard stop them.
Then the Red Wings blocked a shot by Nashville defenceman Kevin Klein, and Emmerton grabbed the puck and skated up the left side before beating Rinne over his stick with a wrister at 15:33.
The Predators also missed with 30 seconds on their second 5-on-3 of the series. Kostitsyn pulled Nashville to 2-1 with a wrister through traffic at 9:01 of the second.
Detroit answered 56 seconds later when Brad Stuart's shot at the net deflected off Franzen's skate, putting the Red Wings back up 3-1.
Trotz said his Predators had great chances, including three open nets, only to miss.
Asked about what they needed to do next, Trotz had a question of his own.
"Other than scoring?" Trotz said.
With files from CBCSports.ca