Red Wings fall to Predators
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Nashville Predators withstood every comeback try the Detroit Red Wings threw at them and skated off with a win.
Colin Wilson had two goals and an assist, and Mike Fisher scored a goal and helped set up two others in the Predators’ 6-4 victory over the Red Wings on Monday night.
Fisher has three goals and three assists in Nashville’s past two games. Craig Smith, Nick Spaling, and Roman Josi also scored.
"There was emotion. There were lots of goals, sways in momentum, all the things that you have in sports," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "From that standpoint, I thought it was real good."
Justin Abdelkader, Pavel Datsyuk, Drew Miller, and Patrick Eaves scored for the Red Wings, who have lost two of three.
The teams combined for five goals in a back-and-forth third period, but Nashville never relinquishing the lead.
"We found a way to shut it down and get that next one when we needed it," Fisher said. "That’s the sign of a good team, playing against a good team like that, we can win one in the third there."
Wilson put the Predators ahead 1:54 into the game with a wrist shot from the high slot that beat goalie Jimmy Howard on the glove side. It was the first shot on Howard, who had been out with a knee injury since Dec. 10.
"It wasn’t very pretty, and it was a battle all night," Howard said. "To be honest with you, I felt like I was behind the play a lot and just didn’t get comfortable in their end. When I thought I was on the angles, I was off the angles."
Detroit tied it at 3:00 of the first period when Abdelkader carried the puck from below the Nashville goal line to the left of the net and lifted a backhander high to the stick side of goalie Marek Mazanec.
Nashville regained the lead when Smith scored his team-leading 11th goal at 9:50 of the first.
Skating down the left side on a 3-on-2 rush, Smith pulled up near the left faceoff dot and beat Howard on the short side.
Spaling made it 3-1 at 4:24 of the second, but Datsyuk got the Red Wings back within a goal just 35 seconds into the third period with a one-timed shot from the right circle.
Fisher stretched Nashville’s lead back to two goals at 5:50.
Wilson carried the puck behind the Detroit net, emerged on the right side, and found Fisher on the left side for a shot into an open net that gave him his 10th goal of the season.
Fisher set himself up for a Gordie Howe hat trick when he fought Abdelkader late in the second period.
Miller made it 4-3 at 11:30, but Wilson’s second of the game was scored 37 seconds later off a nice feed from defenseman Seth Jones, who had two assists for the second consecutive game.
"It was a good play by (Jones), and I just had to get it up over," Wilson said. "We are definitely more confident out there, and did well defensively."
Eaves netted his first goal of the season at 14:52 during a power play to again bring the Red Wings within a goal, 5-4.
Josi’s empty-net, power-play goal concluded the scoring.
Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall each had a pair of assists for Detroit.
"There were times when we were doing a lot of good things and we’re sticking to the game plan, but for some reason we’re losing guys up ice and we’re not executing in our own zone," Kronwall said. "I thought we made it a little too easy for them at times. They got their chances a little bit too easily."
NOTES: Nashville is 15-1-2 when it has scored first this season. … Wilson has points in three consecutive games. … Datsyuk has 69 points in 63 career games against Nashville.