Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Predators Shut Out Red Wings 2-0

After one game at the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena, the Nashville Predators embarked on a two game road trip with their first stop in Detroit. With the divisional realignment that saw the Red Wings move to the Eastern Conference, this would be one of the two meetings against the Predators old Central Division rival.

Coming off a stellar outing against Chicago, Marek Mazanec got the start in net for the Predators, while the Wings went with their workhorse Jimmy Howard.

The Predators were looking for another quick start and solid play for 60 minutes to build on the momentum of the their prior game.

The first period saw both teams skating well and creating some chances in the offensive zone. The Wings had some stretches where they controlled the puck in the offensive zone, especially during their lone power play of the period. The Predators defense and PK unit did a good job for the most in keeping Detroit to the outside and limiting quality chances.

The Predators out shot the Wings 10-7 in the period.

In the second period, the Predators continued to skate well and limit the chances in the offensive zone. Offensively, the Predators could not generate much and rarely challenged Howard.

It was not for lack of opportunity, though. The Predators had 3 power plays in the second, and Detroit did a good job of limiting their chances and shutting down their entry into the offensive zone.

That changed on the third power play, though, as Shea Weber unleashed a blast from the blue line that eluded Howard to make it 1-0 at 19:55 of the second period. On the play, Patric Hornqvist was in front screening and took away Howard's ability to see the puck.

Detroit out shot the Predators 9-7 in the period, but Mazanec looked sharp and poised and handled the pressure from the Wings.

The Predators made it 2-0 at 7:13 of the third period as Viktor Stalberg fired a puck off the end boards from the slot. The puck caromed back to the side of the net and Gabriel Bourque was camped at the side of the net and buried the rebound past an out of position Howard.

The Predators made those two goals stand up as they held the Wings off the board for the first shut out for Marek Mazanec in his short NHL career.

Some observations:

  • This was a solid win for the Predators. They played a full 60 minute game and skated hard in all zones. Their aggressive forecheck kept Detroit off balance and created some scoring opportunities. The Predators defense did a good job of limiting the Wings in the offensive zone and especially closed off passing lanes. The Wings like to move the puck and create mismatches and scoring opportunities and the Predators did a good job of not allowing those passes and quality scoring chances.

  • Gabriel Bourque looks like he is starting to heat up and find his scoring touch. If he can get going offensively, that will be a boost for the Predators.

  • Marek Mazanec had a second consecutive strong outing. he was positionally sound, moved well, and was calm in the crease. Mazanec has wrested the starting job away from Carter Hutton, and if he can continue to have strong outings, it will allow the Predators to begin to make up some ground in the division.

  • Although the first goal was scored off the power play, the power play unit has not looked good. There continues to be little movement and creativity, and the PP unit seems content to throw the puck back to the point for a shot from the blue line. A four minute power play in the third period resulted in just 2 shots on net. This unit is going to have to improve for the Predators to have continued success.

  • Maybe it was just me, but this game didn't seem to have the same edge and snarl as games between these teams did when they were in the same division.

  • Patric Hornqvist sets the tone for this team, and he continues to play hard. He is fearless in driving the net and going to the hard areas, and the Predators first goal was aided by his screen in front of Howard. 
This was a solid, 60 minute game by the Predators. They built off their success from the Chicago game and played a confident, fundamentally sound game.

They have to keep that momentum going and begin to make up some ground.

My three stars:

1. Marek Mazanec

2. Shea Weber

3. Gabriel Bourque

No comments:

Post a Comment