Take a deep breath everyone, we’ve got a win.
Without a doubt Nashville came to play tonight. Just take a look at the first period. Barely two minutes in Hornqvist took a break away opportunity, even though he was denied by Howard. But do not fear my dedicated Preds fans, all would be rectified!
Paul Gaustad tallied his first goal of his playoff career and as a Predator seven minutes into the first period. Small bit of humor – someone threw a catfish on the ice. Yes, they were so excited to be at the playoffs that they brought a smelly fish with them. Any who, this goal was all part of Nashville’s amazing play in the first period, keeping Detroit on its toes from start to finish. Now if only they could have capitalized on the FOUR power play opportunities handed to them on a silver platter…
Detroit seemed to hit their grove when it came to the second period, despite Helm leaving the game with an injury - after a check on Radulov, Radulov’s skate came up to hit Helm in what appeared to be the arm. But Detroit rallied, with Henrik Zetterberg sending in an unassisted power play goal two and a half minutes in. A lucky whistle (the puck went behind Rinne right after) and two power play chances later, Nashville took over the lead for the night. Rookie Gabriel Bourque sent home his first playoff goal with a wrister off a redirect from Halischuk, straight past Howard. Bourque’s second goal of the night came just over half way through the third, again with a wrist shot. Nashville held off Detroit until there were only two minutes remaining. Tomas Holmstrom pushed the puck past Rinne to make the game 3-2 to the Preds.
In classic fashion of a game this close, the Red Wings decided to pull Howard from net for the man advantage in the last two minutes of play. That was all well and good until one Martin Erat decided it was a grand time to get a holding penalty. That’s right folks, six on four for the last twenty-three seconds. Some of the scariest seconds of any Preds fan’s life.
But Nashville held out to win the first game of the series.
On a serious note, although tonight should be a night of celebration, both Nashville and Detroit are wondering, will Shea Weber play in the next game? Was Zetterberg injured? Weber and Zetterberg were in battle for the puck when time ran out, and Weber for some unknown reason punched Zetterberg in the back of his helmet and pushed his head into the glass. The referees did assess Weber a roughing penalty and Zetterberg was able to leave the ice under his own power, but still. This hit was unsportsmanlike and flat out uncalled for. We will be awaiting news on the outcome of this hit as Friday’s game inches closer.