period to refocus his squad after Nashville scored two goals in 11-seconds to tie and take control of the game. Fourteen seconds later, Kris Draperscored his first goal of the postseason, and it was all Detroit from that point on. Tomas Holmstrom finished the scoring and goalie Dominik Hasek made 25 saves in the third to wrap a 4-2 win, giving the Red Wings a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with the Predators.
“All I said was, are we better than this?” Babcock said. “Let’s just settle down, play with poise and do our job. We got a smart group, they were doing that with themselves anyways, we just thought that it was time to get back on track.”
Darren McCarty scored his first NHL goal since April 25, 2006 and Nicklas Lidstrom tallied his first goal of the postseason for the Red Wings, who head to Nashville for Game 3 on Monday. Hockeytown went wild when ‘Mac’ found the back of the net.
“I heard it, of course I heard it. What can I say?” McCarty said. “Those moments are definitely ones you cherish and I’ll cherish that one. It’s just great to be on this team, its great to play, and its great to chip in and it’s the best time of the year. This is what a lot of us in here are made for, it’s the playoffs and hopefully it will continue.”
Chris Chelios achieved another milestone in his illustrious career, passing Patrick Roy for most playoff games played when he suited up for the 248th time on Saturday.
An octopus hit the ice before Karen Newman was finished singing the national anthem, and it was mayhem in Hockeytown from that point on. Holmstrom started off the physicality with a hit in the right corner of the Nashville zone 45-seconds into the contest.
Nashville thought they took the early lead when Alexander Radulov flicked the puck past Hasek, only to have the goal called off because Radek Bonk knocked the net off behind Hasek prior to the puck crossing the goal line.
Moments later, McCarty answered, scoring his first goal in a Red Wings' uniform since March 29, 2004. Dallas Drake took the puck to the net, and backhanded the puck out front. Nashville rookie netminder Dan Ellis stopped the initial shot with a pad save, only to have the rebound find McCarty’s stick. McCarty made no mistake burying it into the empty net, giving the Wings an early one-goal lead. Mark Hartigan picked up an assist on the play, as well.
Hasek was tested throughout the first, facing and stopping 15 Nashville shots. Nashville out-shot the Wings by four in the first period.
“Dom’s the story,” Babcock said. “Tonight in the first period we turned the puck over and gave up more chances than we would give up in five games, I thought, in the first period. I’m talking quality now. And I thought Dom was fantastic.”
With Radulov serving a too-many-men bench penalty in the opening seconds of the second, Lidstrom put the Wings up 2-0 with a one-timer slapshot. After receiving a pass from Brian Rafalski, Lidstrom beat Ellis from the left side of the Nashville blue line, with Holmstrom adding the secondary assist.
Madness ensued soon after, when a lucky bounce changed the complexion of the game. Nashville dumped the puck into the Detroit zone on a power play soon after the Lidstrom goal, and the puck took an odd bounce off the glass and popped out in front of the Red Wings' net. With Hasek behind the net, waiting to field the dump in, Radulov found the puck and a wide-open net in front of him, and scored to cut the Predators' deficit to 2-1.
Just 11-seconds later, Jordin Tootoo stole the puck from Andreas Lilja and fired a wrist shot through Hasek’s legs to tie the game. Nashville took over the game for the next few minutes, and had shots from Ryan Suter and Bonk both beat Hasek but hit the left post.
Babcock used his only time-out to calm the rattled Red Wings, and it turned out to save the game for Detroit. Draper scored from the left circle after puck movement from Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Hudler, on a lucky bounce of his own. His wrist shot struck Nashville defenseman Greg Zanon’s skate and changed direction, beating Ellis to give the Wings a 3-2 edge.
Holmstrom scored his first goal of the playoffs to seal the Wings' victory. Ellis stopped a slap shot from Pavel Datysuk, and then attempted to clear the puck himself, swatting it instead to Holmstrom, who sent a shot into the back of the net from just above the slot.
The series now moves to Nashville for Games 3 and 4, which will be played on Monday, April 14 (7:30 p.m. EDT) and Wednesday, April 16 (9 p.m. EDT).
GAME NOTES: Nashville lost center Scott Nichol for the series after undergoing surgery on his thumb. … Nashville’s David Legwand was a scratch for Game 2. He has been out since March 7 with a foot injury, and was a game-time decision for coach Barry Trotz. ... The Red Wings scratches were: Justin Abdelkader, Derek Meech, Kirk Maltby, Aaron Downey, Brett Lebda and Tomas Kopecky.
1 - 0 DET
2 - 0 DET
Snap shot -