By MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI AGENCY
Updated 2 hours ago
DETROIT — Nashville is the home of country music. Friday the Detroit Red Wings are going to find out if there’s a fat lady singing.
After dropping a 3-1 decision to the Nashville Predators Tuesday in front of 20,066 fans at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings are facing elimination in their best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final series. The Predators lead the series 3-1.
It isn’t over until the fat lady sings, but after the Red Wings threw everything they could at Pekka Rinne and the Predators and still came out on the short end, the songstress is warming up.
The Red Wings pounded away at the Predators for most of the game, but after two periods, the score was still tied 0-0.
The Predators were defending with desperation and the Wings were attacking with desperation.
Things got crazy early in the third. The Predators thought they’d taken a 1-0 lead when David Legwand appeared to have banked one in off the leg and arm of Wings’ netminder Jimmy Howard. But the goal was called back on a quick whistle by the officials.
A few seconds later the Predators got one that counted. Gabriel Bourque was left all alone in front of the net and he beat Howard.
But after the Predators took a penalty, Niklas Kronwall fired a blast from the point that was tipped by Jiri Hudler and the Wings had finally beaten Rinne.
The Joe Louis Arena was still humming when the Red Wings hit the post, but the Predators broke out of their zone.
Three Red Wing defenders and Howard followed Martin Erat to the corner and forgot about Kevin Klein. When Erat got the puck to Klein he had an empty net and no one closer than 10 feet. Legwand rounded out the scoring late in the game.
There were two key elements the Red Wings discussed after the first three games of the series. They needed to stay out of the penalty box and get a better start.
They got off to a better start.
They dominated the Predators in the first period outshooting them 11-7. But the shots didn’t reflect the true control the Wings had most of the period.
They missed the net on at least three great chances, the best one coming when Kronwall was sent in alone on Rinne. But instead of simply firing the puck, Kronwall’s attempt at a fancy deke saw the puck slide wide of the net.
The period really belonged to Rinne. He made big stops on Dan Cleary, Pavel Datsyuk twice and Henrik Zetterberg.
For all the domination though, the Red Wings had trouble getting a lot of their shots through to Rinne. The Predators’ defence did a terrific job of preventing most of the Wings shots from the point from getting through.
At the other end of the rink, Howard had only one tough moment and that came during a scramble.
“I felt that we got off to a way better start than previous games,” Kronwall said. “We won some faceoffs and we had the puck a lot more.”
But like the first games in the series the puck doesn’t want to bounce the Wings’ way.
“Well, we just got to work for it,” Kronwall said. “It’s not gonna come to you for free, we’ve just got to work a little harder for it.”
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