Preds defense chips in needed offense in victory over Detroit

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 12:12am

Barry Trotz delighted in the fact that defensemen were involved in each of the Nashville Predators’ goals Tuesday.

“That is part of our game,” he said.

It was a problem, though, when one of his blue liners also had a hand — a foot, actually — in a Detroit Red Wings’ score. Kevin Klein unwittingly kicked the puck into his own net with 8:28 to play in the third period and touched off an offensive flurry that ultimately resulted in overtime.

Shea Weber, a defenseman, ended things with his third goal in as many games, this one 44 seconds into the extra period.

“There wasn’t much of angle,” Weber said. “The defenseman’s stick was there. Honestly, I just tried to chip it by his stick and get it toward the net. I think it luckily slid in and found a way.”

It was the ninth time in 17 games Nashville played beyond regulation but just the second time it won during the five-minute, four-on-four overtime period. The nine overtimes are the most in the NHL and the four overtime/shootout wins are tied with three others for most in the league.

“In the end, we didn’t have enough and didn’t get it done,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “In this league we don’t get many moral victories. … All in all, we had some very competitive players and some guys who didn’t choke.”

The Predators scored twice in the opening 11 minutes — defensemen Weber and Scott Hannan had assists on the first and second, respectively — and never trailed. Playing their second game in as many days, though, they got on their heels a little bit in third period when they were outshot 11-4.

It was 10:52 in when Klein registered Nashville’s first shot of the final period, but the Red Wings didn’t convert until 40 seconds later. That’s when former Predator Jordin Tootoo sent a centering pass from the right wing that went off Klein’s left skate and tied it 2-2.

“It’s just one of those things — bounces happen,” Klein said. “It wasn’t the first time something’s gone off my skate into the net.

“It was just one of those bad bounces. Guys showed great heart coming back and it was nice Shea got that one … at the end.”

Defenseman Roman Josi put Nashville back in front with his first goal of the season, unassisted, 1:21 later when his shot went off the stick of Detroit defenseman Joakim Andersson, but it was tied again 3-3 after 33 seconds, when Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk beat four defenders and got the puck past goalie Pekka Rinne.

“There was three goals in the first 51 minutes,” Trotz said. “And then there was three goals in two minutes.”

It was not even a minute into overtime, though, that Weber ended things and extended his long-awaited coring surge.

The Nashville captain and two-time Norris Trophy finalist had just one assist in his first 13 games and did not score until last Saturday against Anaheim. Now he has recorded six points (three goals, three assists) in the last six games and climbed into a tie for third among the team’s leading scorers.

“I just think with the bigger guys it takes a little longer to get going — getting your hands, getting your feet, getting your wind and getting up ice,” Trotz said. “… Every night he’s playing against the top people in the world, a lot of minutes. He’s got his game going. He’s been a big contributor.”

• Briefly: Nashville was without center Paul Gaustad (upper body injury) and his absence was felt in the faceoff circle, where Detroit won 31 of 52 (60 percent). … Tootoo was credited with the goal off Klein’s foot. It was his first of the season. He also had a game-high four hits. “He’s playing his regular Jordin Tootoo game,” Trotz said. … Detroit lost starting goalie Jimmy Howard to an upper body injury 11:22 into the contest. He left 41 seconds after Nashville went up 2-0. … Earlier in the day the Predators acquired minor league defenseman Scott Ford from St. Louis for minor league forward Jani Laujunen. Ford was immediately assigned to Milwaukee (AHL).

1 Comment on this post:

By: TITAN1 on 2/20/13 at 5:36

WTG, Preds!