By Christy Hammond
The Detroit Red Wings (38-12-8) scored five goals on the power play en route to a 6-2 win over the Nashville Predators (27-28-3). Johan Franzen and Nicklas Lidstrom each posted two goals and an assist in the victory. Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk earned a pair of assists while Jiri Hudler and Henrik Zetterberg each registered a goal and assist in the game. With the win, head coach Mike Babcock now has 200 career NHL wins.
Hudler tallied the first goal of the game, five minutes into the first period on a power play. Kronwall had taken a hard shot that deflected off of Franzen, allowing Hudler to put the rebound backhanded behind goaltender Dan Ellis. With the tally, Hudler reached the 20-goal mark in a single season for the first time in his career.
Zetterberg would score 3:26 later, again on the power play. Brian Rafalski passed the puck from the point to Datsyuk, who was standing along the half boards. The Russian then made a shot at the weird angle and the rebound went to Zetterberg, who was skating along the top of the crease. Hank easily popped the puck into the net.
With seven seconds remaining, Nashville scored a power-play goal of their own to send the teams into intermission with a 2-1 Detroit lead.
Detroit’s lone even strength goal of the night came at 10:01 in the second period when Lidstrom fired a rocket from above the left faceoff circle to extend the Wings lead. Nashville’s Steve Sullivan would score again 2:41 later to bring the game back within one.
In his first game back after missing five due to injury, forward Johan Franzen made his presence known with a quick deke in front of the netminder, before lifting the puck up on his backhand to score with the man advantage.
Lidstrom continued to pad the Detroit lead with another hard shot, this time from the right faceoff dot 1:08 into the final frame.
The best moment of the night for many fans occurred when the team-leading goal scorer Marian Hossa got in a fight with Nashville’s Ryan Suter at 9:53 after Dan Hamhuis had hit Hudler and then was trying to egg on Franzen. The crowd roared in approval, chanting “Hossa, Hossa.” I think a lot of people didn’t believe it was actually Hossa out there fighting (his jersey was quickly taken off), but when the PA announced that Hossa received five minutes for fighting and a game misconduct for not having his jersey tied down, the fans knew for sure only cementing Hossa’s status as a Wing in their eyes. It was Hossa’s first fight in nearly two years and Detroit’s first fight in 36 games.
The Mule scored the final game of the evening at 15:38 (surprise, it was on another power play). Teammate Valtteri Filppula made a quick pass from behind the red line in the Nashville zone to Franzen, who was stationed above the crease. He one-timed the shot giving him his third point of the night and 24th goal of the season. Despite missing five games, the Mule still sits at third in goals on the Wings roster.
Ty Conklin made 23 saves in the contest, giving him 20 wins on the season. The win marked his 10th straight at home.
The Wings stay home and prepare for their game against Anaheim on Friday evening.