Ahhhh, home sweet home. After a four-game road trip, the Red Wings have returned home to Little Caesars Arena to start a five-game homestand. They start off the homestand with a game against the Nashville Predators, who themselves just had a five-game homestand where they went 4-0-1. It’ll be a tough matchup against a team that it looks like finally found its footing after a rough start to the year.
The Red Wings will be looking to continue their red-hot offensive play, as they have scored 13 goals in their last two games. Two of the biggest reasons for that play are David Perron and Filip Hronek. Perron comes into this game with seven points in his last four while Hronek has six in his last four. They’ll also be looking for more contributions from Dominik Kubalik, who has points in 13 out of 18 games so far this season.
Ville Husso gets his fourth consecutive start for the Red Wings after a phenomenal game in Columbus. The Predators, meanwhile, send out Kevin Lankinen for his fifth start of the season. It feels like the Red Wings have been facing a lot of backup netminders this season, and tonight will be no different. Lankinen, though, has been very good for Nashville this season. He comes into this game with a .921 save percentage and 2.60 GAA. It should be a great game between the Finnish netminders as the former Central Division rivals go head-to-head.
The Red Wings get the first couple of shots of the game, but neither really threatens Lankinen. The play is super slow with the first six minutes passing with no big chances going either way. The Red Wings do get four shots in those first six minutes, but all are from outside or right into Lankinen. We head into the first media timeout with shots 4-1 in favor of Detroit.
The first big chance for either side comes for Nashville after the media timeout. A slap pass across the ice to Tanner Jeannot gives him an excellent chance, but Husso comes up with the pad save. That was the only chance for either team for a while, as neither team records a shot until Andrew Copp fires a weak one from the top of the circle with 10:34 remaining in the first. After some more quietness, an offside from Nashville sends the game to its second media timeout.
When we come back from the break, it’s more of the same. There’s a lot of solid defensive play and really sloppy offensive play as over the next four minutes, there’s just one shot on target for either side. The Red Wings have only had one shot in the past ten minutes of game time and Nashville had three total in the first 15 minutes of the game.
Finally, with just over 4:20 left in the period, the Predators have a threatening moment after a deflected shot fools Husso momentarily before he redirects it away. Shortly after, the Red Wings do break their shot drought but it’s once again an easy shot that Lankinen handles with no problem. A couple of minutes later, the Predators do get a couple of threatening moments in front of Husso and do get a couple of shots on goal, but Husso comes up big as the game remains scoreless.
We finally reach the final media timeout just under the one-minute mark after a Roman Josi shot gets gloved by Husso. In the final minute, it’s more of what happened throughout the entire period. Solid defensive coverage with sloppy offensive play. The period comes to an end with the shots 7-6 in favor of Nashville. The Predators had the only two threatening chances of the period while the Red Wings couldn’t get anything going. They’re gonna have to be better with their puck movement in the second to actually challenge Lankinen.
The first couple of minutes passes with once again, little happening. Just after that, Lucas Raymond gives the Red Wings their first threatening chance of the period as he deked through defenders but unfortunately couldn’t get a shot through. On the same shift, he dishes a pass off to Bertuzzi who wrists one on goal from the point. A few deflections and bounces nearly fool Lankinen, but the puck ends up in Lankinen’s chest.
On the next shift, a bad Nashville turnover and nice play by Dylan Larkin leads to a rush up the ice. Larkin sees the defender come flying in, fires a wrist shot AND SCORES!!! LARKIN MAKES IT 1-0 WITH HIS NINTH OF THE SEASON!!! An absolutely gorgeous shot from the captain beats Lankinen and Perron picks up another point with his tenth assist of the season. A couple more minutes pass and it heads to the first media timeout of the second period.
Right out of the break, the Red Wings pick up the first minor penalty of the game for either team, with Mo Seider picking up a tripping penalty. Then, just 23 seconds later, Ben Chiarot tosses the puck over the glass and sends Nashville on a five-on-three power play. Over the first minute or so, the Red Wings zone defense is phenomenal, keeping the Predators from any chances. Then finally, they get two good chances but Husso comes up huge with two saves.
Seider’s penalty ends sending it to five-on-four and Nashville gets their best chances of the game. Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi each take one-timers within five seconds of each other and Husso makes massive saves on both of them and the power play ends with it still being scoreless. What an incredible penalty kill from the Red Wings netminder as “HUUUUUUSSSSS!!!” chants rain down from the crowd at LCA.
Shots have quickly gone to 18-9 in favor of Nashville, but the Red Wings still hold the lead. Then, Nashville picks up a tripping minor for Nashville on Kubalik as he’s barreling towards the net, sending the Red Wings on their first power play of the game. There are some great chances for Detroit as a bouncing puck threatens to find the back of the net but Lankinen comes up big.
The second power-play unit comes out and Berggren finds the puck in the right circle. He passes it to Filip Hronek at the top of the slot who RIPS A SLAP SHOT PAST LANKINEN!!! 2-0 RED WINGS AS HRONEK PICKS UP HIS FIFTH GOAL IN HIS LAST FIVE GAMES!!! A phenomenal power play from Detroit and it lets them increase their lead. Berggren picks up his third assist of the season and Andrew Copp, who struggled so much to start the season, gets another assist for his ninth point in eleven games.
Very shortly after, Nashville gets a threatening chance as Filip Forsberg is found backdoor but his redirection goes wide. After a few minutes, we head to the media timeout with just under three to play in the second period. It’s crazy to believe that this game is the same one we were watching in the first period that was so slow. A fun stat just came on the screen. Through the first 16 games, the Red Wings had just four total goals from defensemen. They have seven in their past three games.
Shortly after returning from the break, Olli Määttä picks up a penalty sending Nashville to another power play. It’s the Red Wings, however, who get the first chance of the period as Larkin and Oskar Sundqvist get a two-on-one rush where Lankinen makes a phenomenal save on a wraparound attempt. Nashville goes the entire two minutes without a single shot on goal as we head into the final 30 seconds of the period.
The Red Wings head to the power play with just nine seconds remaining in the second after Michael McCarron gets called for a check to the head on Seider. Was it a hit to the head? Ehhhhh. Didn’t really look like it from the angle I saw but certainly not gonna complain about it. The period comes to a close with the Red Wings up 2-0 and 1:51 remaining on a power play. Nashville led the shots 12-9, but it was Detroit who took their chances and have control of this game heading into the third.
The Red Wings power play gets a couple of really good chances. The first one comes off an amazing save by Seider to keep the puck in the zone. A beautiful passing play leads to Kubalik attempting to get a Sundqvist deflection in front, but it’s unable to find the target. About 45 seconds later, Hronek finds Perron in the right circle for a one-timer and clangs it off the iron to keep the game at 2-0 following the power play.
Nashville gets another fantastic chance about a minute or so later. Filip Forsberg makes an absolutely incredible set of moves to get past both Määttä and Chiarot, but Husso comes up huge once again. This guy just continues to look phenomenal in Detroit and he’s quickly becoming a fan favorite. They announced on the broadcast that he’s currently third in the NHL with six games allowing one goal or fewer, and he might be adding a seventh tonight with how he’s playing.
The Red Wings first line gets another massive chance around the 15-minute mark with all three touching the puck, but Lankinen makes an absolutely incredible stop on Larkin. He’s then matched by his Finnish counterpart as Husso makes another fantastic save. What a game for the Red Wings netminder, I can’t do justice to how fantastic he has been tonight.
Nashville gets a bit of prolonged possession in the Red Wings zone but is unable to capitalize. Husso makes a nice pad save on a shot from the point, but it’s the only chance to end up on target. There are now nine minutes remaining in the first and we’re yet to have a media timeout. Really shows just how active this period has been. The Red Wings get another chance as Tyler Bertuzzi leads a two-on-one, but his shot is stopped by Lankinen. We finally head to the first media timeout with 8:07 to play in regulation.
Coming out of the break, the Red Wings get a couple of more chances and force Lankinen to come up big. Very quickly, we get another stoppage in play getting the second media timeout in with the score still 2-0 Detroit. Coming out of the break, Michael Rasmussen finds Sundqvist streaking into the zone but his wrist shot goes wide. With just more than five minutes to play in regulation, Forsberg is found wide open in the slot after a miscommunication but once again. Husso comes up big. His save sends us into the final media timeout.
Right out of the break, the Red Wings first line gets another massive chance as Kubalik is the one robbed by Lankinen this time. Right back the other way, Nashville gets another chance, but Forsberg is unable to control the puck and get a good shot on Husso. I say again, how are these the same two teams we saw playing in that slog of a first period?
We get down under three minutes and it looks like we might be seeing Lankinen go to the bench, However, Larkin interrupts the breakout to stop it. On a second attempt, Nashville gets into the zone and Lankinen goes to the bench for the extra skater with 2:30 remaining. As has been so often this season, the Red Wings zone defense is phenomenal. There’s nowhere for Nashville to go with the puck.
Unfortunately, the Red Wings pick up an icing call which makes it look like they’ll have a tired group out there. However, the Predators then call a timeout which I don’t quite get but they do it, allowing the Red Wings to recover. Nashville still can’t get anything going, and after a clearance down the ice, Rasmussen pulls the puck out of the corner AND HE SCORES THE EMPTY NETTER!!! 3-0 RED WINGS WITH 20 SECONDS LEFT AND THAT’LL DO IT!!!
A phenomenal game for the Red Wings after a rough first period. Ville Husso picks up his third shutout of the season and his league-leading seventh game allowing one goal or less. One thing the Red Wings have struggled with this season is not being too passive in the third period while leading. They’ve been frequently outshot when leading in the third period this season, but they actually outshot Nashville 14-7 in the third. They didn’t let Nashville get a single shot on goal with the extra skater out there and it just never looked like the Predators would get back into it.
Honestly, they could’ve won by more if it wasn’t for the play of Kevin Lankinen. Hronek and Perron both continue their hot streak and the first line of Larkin, Kubalik and Perron continues to be one of the most threatening lines in the entire NHL. This team continues to look more and more like they can actually be a playoff team come April. The offensive production of the defense and the play of Husso has made a massive difference, and they’ll look to continue that streak of play against the Arizona Coyotes.