The Nashville Predators found out that they have a war in their series with the Detroit Red Wings as the Wings captured a 3-2 win at the Bridgestone Arena to even their series at one game for each team.
For the Predators, they found out that matching the intensity of their opponent is essential to winning a critical game. Failing to do so resulted in losing puck battles and failing to finish chances.
And it allowed the Wings the opportunity to even the series heading back to the Joe.
Pekka Rinne got the start in net and he wasn't sharp. He gave up 2 goals on 8 shots in the first period as the Predators found themselves in a 2-0 deficit at the end of one period.
Ian White opened the scoring for the Wings as his shot through traffic found the back of the net at 8:25 of the first period. Rinne seemed to lose the puck through traffic, and the goal energized the Wings.
They capitalized on that momentum with a goal from Cory Emmerton at 15:33 of the first as his wrist shot beat Rinne cleanly over his shoulder to give the Wings a 2-0 lead.
The Wings did a good job of disrupting the offensive flow of the Predators throughout the first period and for the bulk of the game. The Predators struggled to establish their offense in the zone, and when they did, Jimmy Howard made some good saves to stymie the Predators offense.
The Predators finally broke through and tallied a marker at 9:01 of the second period as Alexander Radulov got the puck to Andrei Kostitsyn and he buried his chance to make it 2-1.
Finally, the Predators had life, the arena was rocking, and the momentum was with the Predators.
That changed just 56 seconds later as Johan Franzen potted a goal that appeared to completely elude Rinne and made the score 3-1 Red Wings.
The Predators cut the deficit to 3-2 as Shea Weber tallied his first goal of the series with a backhand shot from the slot at 15:16 of the third period.
The Predators were not able to find the back of the net in the remaining time, and the Wings had tied the series at 1.
For the Predators, this loss had to be extremely disappointing. Throughout the night, they lost puck battles and were ineffective moving through the neutral zone. In the offensive zone, they could not finish. For the night, the Predators out shot the Wings 26-17, but their inability to finish chances doomed them in this contest.
The Predators power play was once again impotent. The power play went 0-6, and if this is not corrected soon, will spell immense trouble for the Predators. Often, the power play was stagnant, with players not moving to the open lanes and shots not getting on net.
Detroit's designated thug, Todd Bertuzzi, fought Shea Weber early in the game as retribution for Weber's hit on Henrik Zetterberg in game one. Bertuzzi was busy grabbing at Weber and hoping he did not get hit. A meaningless fight that served no purpose in the game, but one that the Wings felt they needed to engage in to respond to Weber's hit.
Several concerns are present for the Predators. Their power play has to start clicking for them to capture this series. Presently, the power play is not a plus for the Predators, and after the effectiveness of the regular season, this is troubling. The man advantage unit has to simplify their game and get shots on net rather than waiting for the pretty play. Through two games, the power play is 0-12.
The Predators need to finish their chances. They had them tonight and failed to capitalize. Finish the chances and Detroit is looking a t a 2-0 deficit.
It is imperative that the line of Mike Fisher, Sergei Kostitsyn, and Marty Erat start tot step up their game. They have been invisible in the first two games, and for the Predators to have success, they must produce. Through two games, they have combined for 10 shots and no points. This has to change for the Predators to have success. And the change needs to occur immediately.
The Predators have and opportunity to rebound and take the series lead with the next game on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.
It is a simple task.
Be strong on the puck and get shots on net. Finish your chances.
And take control of the series.
My three stars:
1. Jimmy Howard
2. Johan Franzen
3. Shea Weber