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Detroit Red Wings Lose Wild Game to Nashville Predators

December 31st, 2013 at 3:20 PM
By Frank Vajcner

The Red Wings and Predators were becoming bitter rivals while in the NHL's Central Division.

But once the Wings moved to the Eastern Conference, the rivalry was thought to go the way of the buffalo.

That wasn't the case Monday night.

In a game where both teams combined for ten goals and plenty of hard hits, the Preds outlasted the Wings 6-4 in the final meeting of the regular season.

Red Wings netminder Jimmy Howard, who made his return to action for the first time since December 10, had a rough outing as he gave up two goals on the first five shots. He would finish with 23 stops on 28 shots, but was not pleased with his performance.

"It wasn't pretty. I felt like I was behind the play all night. I really didn't get comfortable in there," he said. "Whenever you score four goals, you should win. The guys deserved better; they really battled hard. I didn't do my job."

Colin Wilson got to Howard quickly, as he scored the first goal of the game just 1:54 into the first period as his wrister fluttered past Howard. It was also the first shot on goal by the Predators.

The lead did not last long, as Justin Abdelkader fired a backhander past Marek Mazanec 66 seconds later for his fourth goal of the year.

Craig Smith gave the Predators the lead back at 9:50 after he went coast-to-coast and beat Howard from the left circle.

Nick Spaling scored the only goal of the second at 4:24 to give the Preds a 3-1 lead. Tempers flared in the period as Mike Fisher and Abdelkader dropped the gloves at 17:39.

The third period featured a combined six goals. Predator-killer Pavel Datsyuk cut the margin to 3-2 with his 15th goal of the season after Niklas Kronwall fed him the puck after picking off a clearing attempt by Shea Weber. Datsyuk then beat Mazanec with a one-timer just 35 seconds into the period.

Fisher restored a two goal lead for the Predators at 5:50 after he got a feed from Wilson. The goal completed a Gordie Howe hat trick for Fisher, who assisted on Wilson's goal in the first.

The Red Wings wouldn't go away, as Kyle Quincey shoved a loose puck past Mazanec for his second goal of the year at 11:30.

Wilson would score his second of the game 37 seconds later with a backhander.

Patrick Eaves cut the lead back to one with his first goal of the season during a power play 14:52 after he snapped a shot past Mazanec. But Roman Josi would ice the game with 19 seconds left with an empty netter.

"Obviously, we'd like to go in [to 2014] on a positive note," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We gave up too many [goals], but we'll go home, get some rest and enjoy practice."

THREE STARS:

  1. NSH Colin Wilson (2 Goals, Assist)
  2. NSH Mike Fisher (Goal, 2 Assists)
  3. NSH Seth Jones (2 Assists)
Tags: Detroit, Detroit Red Wings, Hockey, Kyle Quincey, NHL, Patrick Eaves

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