Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 4/14/12
Shea Weber started it and Todd Bertuzzi finished it. It wasnt much of a fight as far hockey fights go, but it didnt need to be. If the NHL wasnt going to administer proper justice, then it was up to the Red Wings to dole out a little frontier justice Bertuzzi style. The Red Wings didnt have any other choice. Detroit needed to respond to Webers mugging of Henrik Zetterberg, since it was apparent that the Predators couldnt contain their glee of Webers "punishment" handed out by the NHL. How else can you explain Weber and teammate Andrei Kostitsyn re-enacting Webers face plant of Zetterberg at the conclusion of Thursdays practice or the Nashville players jokingly saying that they were going to be taking up a collection to help Weber pay his 2,500 fine? Of course it was just some good-natured, lighthearted fun from a team of classy guys. Yeah, right. Weber got away with one and the Predators couldnt help but rub it in. Their mocking behavior is almost as disgusting as Webers assault. Once Big Bert fought Weber less than two minutes into the first period of Friday nights game in Nashville the Wings tilted the rink slightly in their favor. Detroit was able to score two first period goals and hung on to beat the Predator 3-2, to even up their playoff series at a game apiece. With the next two games in Detroit, itll be interesting to see how the heavily favored Predators will react to the pressure suddenly resting on their collective shoulders. Nashville is a very good team, however, and all signs still point to this being a long, hard and tough series. Even though Bertuzzis fight with Weber set the tone, Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard and the Wings' penalty kill won Fridays game. Detroit spent way too much time in the box. Nashville, just as they did in game one, had six power play opportunities. Twelve power plays in two games and zero goals by the Predators is remarkable, considering that Nashville has the NHLs number one power play. But Detroits penalty kill has been on a roll lately, killing off 37 consecutive power plays over their last seven games including the regular season. Nevertheless, the Wings are flirting with disaster if they continue to take penalties. If it wasnt for the hockey gods, puck luck and Howard, the Predators could have converted on two or three of their power play chances. Howards play was relentless. He challenged shooters, had good rebound control and his anticipation was spot on. With Howard between the pipes, goaltending is not an issue. Also, Detroits third and fourth lines played with an aggressive grind-out style that should be acknowledged. Without Darren Helm for the rest of the playoffs, it was encouraging to see the bottom six contribute. If theres an aspect to Detroits game that needs tightening up, its the play in their end. They still seem to cough up the puck way too much and at times appear to be lackadaisical. Defensive zone turnovers will be their undoing if the Predators eliminate the Red Wings. With that said, the Wings gained a split in Nashville, which is what they needed to do. In fact, they outplayed the Predators in both games. The national perception is that the Wings are a fading franchise. Their roster is broken-down and battered. Detroits glory days are becoming a distant memory, which has the Red Wings smirking. As Shea Weber and his teammates learned on Friday, theres still plenty of fight left in those old codgers wearing the winged-wheel.
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