Nashville
Predators
40-34-8
Detroit
Red Wings
51-21-10

26 SOG
36 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
NSH
DET
game recap

Predators 4, Red Wings 3

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 12:55 AM

Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -The Nashville Predators capped a big week with a confidence-building victory over the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.

Ryan Suter broke a tie on a power play with 4:36 left, and Pekka Rinne made 33 saves to help Nashville win its third straight, 4-3 over Detroit on Sunday night.

Not only did the Predators defeat the defending Stanley Cup champs, who are also second in the Western Conference, they also beat the conference's top team, the San Jose Sharks, on Thursday night, and Los Angeles on Saturday night in overtime.

"This crew deserves a lot of credit for this week," coach Barry Trotz said.

It also was Nashville's fourth game in six days.

Steve Sullivan had a goal and an assist and Joel Ward, Jerred Smithson also scored for the Predators, seventh in the Western Conference playoff race with six games remaining.

"We're in the fight of our lives for the playoffs," Sullivan said. "We've still got a lot of work to do."

Henrik Zetterberg, Mikael Samuelsson and Johan Franzen scored for Detroit, which lost is second straight and third in four games. Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom each had two assists, and Chris Osgood stopped 22 shots.

O'Reilly, Ward Take Advantage of Opportunities

At the beginning of training camp in September the thought of Cal O'Reilly and Joel Ward anchoring Nashville's scoring lines would have been almost laughable. Yet this past weekend that's just what happened.

Ward was the surprise of training camp and earned a spot on the Opening Night roster. After opening the season battling for fourth line minutes, Ward scored on opening night at St. Louis and finished October with two goals. As the season progressed, Ward established himself as one of the team's leading penalty killers. As of late February he had netted eight goals in 57 games and was one of the feel-good stories of the season for the Preds.

Then as the Predators opened a crucial five-game homestand things started to “click” for Ward. He scored the game-winning goal against Chicago on February 24 in the opener of the homestand. He scored a key goal in Nashville's 4-1 win over Phoenix two nights later and then scored again two nights after that in Nashville's 8-0 win over Detroit. Over his last 16 games Ward has scored nine goals, including a momentum changing shorthanded tally yesterday against Los Angeles and another momentum changing goal tonight at Detroit – both goals which tied the game in the third period of eventual Preds wins.

O'Reilly is paying similar dividends. After an AHL All-Star Campaign last season, O'Reilly suffered an injury just prior to the start of training camp in September. The injury held O'Reilly out of action for much of camp and lost an opportunity to show his skills for the Preds coaching staff. However, he worked hard for the Milwaukee Admirals, ranking among the AHL scoring leaders this season. He got his first NHL opportunity February 28 when the Preds hosted the Detroit Red Wings and picked up an assist 4:48 into the game – the game's opening goal of Nashville's shutout win. After David Legwand was injured earlier this week, O'Reilly earned a second recall to the NHL and has recorded two points in his first three games of the stint, including team's first goal vs. Los Angeles yesterday and assist on the third period goal to give Preds 3-2 lead this evening.

The two forwards who few paid attention to during training camp have played leading roles in Nashville's weekend sweep, combining for three goals and one assist in the two games.
--Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com

"The bottom line is we got to find ways to win games and we're in it together," Osgood said.

Suter beat him with a slap shot from the top of the left circle for his seventh goal, just 29 seconds after Chris Chelios took a cross-checking penalty.

Sullivan made the play as he took the puck off the left boards inside the blue line and headed into the middle of the ice, but he then passed it back to Suter at the left point, who moved in and blasted a shot high on the far side.

"Sully made a great play coming off the wall," Suter said. "I thought he was going to go to the other point. But he passed it back to me. I moved in and was looking for someone to pass to. I saw Bonkie (Radek Bonk) in front of the net and then I just tried to go far side."

Franzen tied it at 3 with 5:25 left with a wrist shot from the high slot for his 32nd goal.

Goals by Ward and Smithson 20 seconds apart gave Nashville a 3-2 lead.

Ward tied it at 2, putting in a rebound for his 17th goal with 8:25 left in the third period. Smithson took a pass from Cal O'Reilly and beat Osgood from the bottom of the left circle. It was Smithson's fourth goal.

"A point shot. I went to the net to try and create a traffic," Ward said. " And I was able to chip the rebound in."

Both goals were the result of Detroit turnovers. The first came when Jonathan Ericsson and Tomas Kopecky almost collided in the neutral zone.

"We actually checked our own guy in the neutral zone on the one," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We found a way to lose the game. That drives you crazy, especially this time of year. It's the time of year you want to be ramping it up."

Samuelsson's power-play goal gave Detroit a 2-1 lead with 4:47 left in the second period. It came with the Red Wings holding a two-man advantage. Samuelsson put in a one-time shot from the left circle for his 19th goal.

Sullivan opened the scoring with a power-play goal 2:25 into the game for his 10th goal. Zetterberg tied it with his 30th goal, a short-handed effort at 4:29.

"I thought we were gassed after the first period," Trotz said. "But the guys just sucked it up."

Notes: Detroit D Brian Rafalski missed the game because of a sore groin. ... Nashville was without captain and C Jason Arnott (concussion), C David Legwand (cheekbone), D Wade Belak (lower body) and LW Ryan Jones (upper body). ... An apparent goal Franzen with 1:15 left in the first was reversed because it was ruled the he kicked it in. ... Predators' RW Martin Erat was helped off the ice after getting hit in the left leg by teammate Shea Weber's slap shot a little less than 1:30 into the second period and didn't return. Trotz said Erat likely had a fractured leg and would be out for at least four weeks. ... Zetterberg's goal was his 400th career point.

scoring summary
1st Period
02:25
NSH
PPG - Steve Sullivan (10) Snap shot - ASST: Radek Bonk (15), Shea Weber (29)
1 - 0 NSH
04:29
DET
SHG - Henrik Zetterberg (30) Backhand shot - ASST: Nicklas Lidstrom (39), Niklas Kronwall (43)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
15:13
DET
PPG - Mikael Samuelsson (19) Snap shot - ASST: Pavel Datsyuk (60), Nicklas Lidstrom (40)
2 - 1 DET
3rd Period
11:35
NSH
Joel Ward (17) Snap shot - ASST: Kevin Klein (8), J-P Dumont (44)
2 - 2 Tie
11:55
NSH
Jerred Smithson (4) Snap shot - ASST: Cal O'Reilly (2)
3 - 2 NSH
14:35
DET
Johan Franzen (32) Snap shot - ASST: Pavel Datsyuk (61)
3 - 3 Tie
15:24
NSH
PPG - Ryan Suter (7) Slapshot - ASST: Steve Sullivan (16)
4 - 3 NSH
penalty summary
1st Period
02:04
DET
Chris Chelios  Tripping against  Antti Pihlstrom
03:43
DET
Brad Stuart  Holding against  Cal O'Reilly
08:17
NSH
Radek Bonk  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
2nd Period
10:46
NSH
Greg De Vries  Tripping against  Kirk Maltby
13:14
NSH
Dan Hamhuis  Cross checking against  Daniel Cleary
13:59
NSH
Shea Weber  Cross checking against  Tomas Holmstrom
3rd Period
14:55
DET
Chris Chelios  Cross checking against  Jordin Tootoo
goalie stats
Pekka Rinne
SA: 36TOI: 59:54
Saves: 33EV: 28 - 29
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 6
SV%: .917SH: 0 - 1
Chris Osgood
Chris Osgood
24-8-7
SA: 26TOI: 58:41
Saves: 22EV: 18 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 5
SV%: .846SH: 1 - 1

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