The Nashville Predators lost their first game of a long five-game road trip to the Detroit Red Wings. The Predators have rebounded from a midseason slump with five points in their last three games, including a win over Philadelphia and Washington.
Nashville Key Stats
Detroit Key Stats
The Red Wings were snubbed of multiple goals in the first period. Pekka Rinne bailed out the Predators multiple times, and Nashville eventually gave him some goal support. With Subban’s snipe at 17:36, the Predators went into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.
Nashville padded to their lead when Smith cleaned up a loose rebound at 3:02. Detroit came right back at 4:24 when Athanasiou finally solved Rinne with a topshelf backhander. Anthony Bitetto almost scored his first goal of the year, but the call was reversed due to goaltender interference. Vanek tied the game up at 13:35 by burying a shot off the boards.
At 13:37 mark of the third period, the Red Wings grabbed the lead for the first time. An atrocious turnover deep in the Nashville zone forced Rinne to chase Nyquist across the crease, leaving the net exposed for Bertuzzi, who buried his tenth goal of the year. Johansen tied the game up at 18:44, and as overtime was expiring, Larkin sliced through the Predator defense and won the game for the Red Wings.
Rocco Grimaldi has recorded four points in the last three games and currently holds a points streak. Before going on his recent tear, he had a mere two points. He has been a boost for the bottom six and continues to impress.
Calle Jarnkrok snagged another assist against Detroit, his sixth assist this year and his first point in five games. The Predators could benefit were he to contribute more offensively.
The Predators claimed Philip Di Giuseppe off waivers, and he was inserted into the lineup with Nick Bonino and Austin Watson. Considering Kyle Turris, Colton Sissons, and Filip Forsberg are still out, he was a solid addition. He produced four points in 22 games with Carolina.
Nashville’s depth might also take another hit as Miikka Salomaki left the game after a collision on the glass. Salomaki recently dabbled on the third line in place of Sissons, but mainly resided on the fourth line. Players like Di Giuseppe and Zac Rinaldo will be called upon in the games to come.
The Predators are relying on the top four defensemen entirely too much. Josi and Ellis are spending nearly half the game on the ice every single night, and Subban and Ekholm aren’t seeing significantly less time either. The third defensive pairing might be an issue, but surely giving their top guys some rest should be on their priorities.
Nashville wasn’t good enough in the faceoff circle; the Predators’ defense was non-existent; Rinne can only do so much. All the things you’ve heard when Nashville loses, but this loss amplified those issues.
The Predators are lucky to grab a point out of this game- the entire team owes Rinne a steak dinner three times over.
Also, new Phil is pretty cool, but old Fil would be great to have back about now.
-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators