For the fourth time in a row, the Red Wings ran into a hot goaltender. First it was Auld, then it was Clemmensen, followed by Price, and now Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators. Chris Osgood did what he could – playing admirably for the second time since returning from illness, but – for the second time since Friday – came away with a loss, this time in regulation.
Detroit’s lone goal scorer, Drew Miller, had his best game as a Red Wing, seemingly rewarding Coach Babcock for leaving him in the lineup, as Kirk Maltby was scratched instead. Considering the Kronwall injury, the Wings carried the best lineup possible into Nashville, but they came up a tad short. It was 2-1 Predators with three minutes left in regulation, and Detroit put the burners on. They seemed destined to tie it up and head to overtime for the third game in a row, but Martin Erat sealed it with his second of the night.
1. Jonathan Ericsson had an end-to-end rush that was a thing of beauty in the first period. The Versus commentators said he looked like a “young Bobby Orr,” and while I’m not ready to make that comparison, I will take back some of the bad things I’ve been saying about him. Not all of them, just a couple.
2. Speaking of the Versus commentators, every time they referred to Francis Bouillon, I could have sworn they said Francis BOOYAH! Also, there is no Brad Lebda on the Red Wings.
3. The Wings took an inordinate amount of dumbass penalties in this one, and paid the price twice. Todd Bertuzzi and Tomas Holmstrom each received four minutes worth of penalties in this one: Bertuzzi was called twice deep in the offensive zone, and Homer – obviously tired of only being called for goaltender interference – got the first “closing his hand on the puck” penalty of the year.
4. 109-year-old Jason Arnott scored during the first Bertuzzi penalty, and Martin Erat scored on the first Holmstrom penalty.
5. Some jackass threw a hat on the ice after Martin Erat’s second goal (the Predator’s third). That’s not how it works, son, but I guess they’ve still got their training wheels on south of the Mason/Dixon. Let’s not get too crazy, they’ve only had 11 years to learn basic hockey terms.
6. Derek Meech didn’t look too bad at all. I noticed him a handful of times, including pinching on offense. I forgot he liked to do that.
7. Ville Leino was bumped off of the second line, in favor of Drew Miller, who I mentioned had his best game as a Red Wing. For much of the third period, it was Bertuzzi/Datsyuk/Homer and Miller/Z/Cleary. Leino actually generated quite a few chances playing with Justin Abdelkader and Brad May – but that line was playing quite well all night. I’m surprised at how effective they are, not only as agitators, but scoring chance creators.
8. I promised myself I’d stop tearing Todd Bertuzzi apart every single day – even though he flat-out deserves it tonight. Instead, I’ll refer you to The Triple Deke, who does a more-than-admirable job telling you all you need to know about #44. Read it RIGHT NOW, and THEN come back to read the final two points.
9. Chris Osgood made more circus saves than usual. In fact, he made more than I can remember him EVER making in an entire season. Like I said above, he played well, making more than enough saves to keep his team in the game (and, if you’re familiar with TPL, that’s all I’ll ever ask of goaltenders), but it was the guys in front of him that let the fans down tonight.
10. Finally, Darren McCarty did quite well in his television debut. He was gesturing with his hands a lot, repeating himself and tried to keep it simple, but rambled on occasion. I work in television, with talent, so that’s just first-time jitters, and he’ll be over them soon. He had great things to add, and fit in just fine. If he continues to keep that post, and we all hope he does, he’ll be the best one on the panel in about a week.
The Red Wings head back home to play the Atlanta Thrashers on Wednesday.