Game 3 was a welcome sight to many Detroit Red Wings fans. After securing a win in their opponent’s building on Friday night, the series and games 3 and 4 shifted to the friendly confines of the Joe Louis Arena. It’s a place where the Wings had won 23 straight home games in a row this season, and filled with 20,066 fans again on Sunday for the 70th consecutive time. It was also the hope that the Red Wings would take both of those pivotal games in front of the home crowd and head back to Music City with Nashville fighting for their postseason lives.
The game began a hot mess. The Predators sustained excellent puck control and pressed Jimmy Howard from the get go. It wasn’t until about the 1:30 mark when the Wings were able to break out of their own zone.
Add Rinne to "Datsyuk's List of Humiliation"
Drew Miller went flying out of the zone in between two Predator defenders when he skated towards Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. He ended up missing the net but drew a goaltender interference call at 1:35 in the first. The dormant Preds powerplay was put to the test early in the game.
For the first minute of the first PK of the game the Red Wings were aggressive in blocking shots until Pavel Datsyuk’s stick broke from a Shea Weber shot. Weber then skated down on Howard’s blocker side and buried a loose puck to give the Predators an early 1-0 lead. This put Detroit in a funk for the first 10 minutes of the game. It was after this point in the game that Detroit picked up their play and started to outplay Nashville by outshooting them 11-9.
The defense was napping at the start of the second as Kevin Klein snuck in between two defenders, drew a hook and netted his first goal of the postseason. Howard after this was on lockdown, and stopped 19 shots the rest of the way. Travel to 13:50 of the second where Pavel Datsyuk adds another goalie to his buffoonery list as he wrapped the puck around the net and stunned Rinne to put the Wings on the board.Time had expired on the second period and Johan Franzen ripped one into an open net. Upon further review the shot was still in the blue crease. NHL rules state that the puck must cross the line by the time the clock hits 0:00. The shot was deemed a no-goal.
Then the ball was in the Red Wings court in the third period as Detroit outshot the Preds 19-4. It was the goal by Sergei Kostitsyn from a 2-on-1 rush that sealed Game 3 for the Predators. Henrik Zetterberg would cut the deficit to one with a goal at 19:06 of the third but the effort was not enough.Game 4 is a game where the Wings hope to build off the last two stellar periods of Game 3 and send the series back to Nashville tied. The Red Wings have shown their offensive prowess in this series and the players donning the Winged Wheel have had to deal with beating an elite goalie in Pekka Rinne. Firing 43 shots in a game is a great indication that the Red Wings are rolling. Even though they have succumbed two victories in the series, their defensive play has improved each game and should pick up until the series ends. Game 4 is on Tuesday Night and will be aired locally on FS-Detroit. Puck drop will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Joe. Radio coverage will be aired on 97.1 The Ticket and national coverage on NBC Sports Network (Versus).
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DS360 Tags: Drew Miller, Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk