Pavel Datsyuk had a flair for the dramatic tonight as he scored a highlight game-winning goal with five seconds left in regulation as the Detroit Red Wings (40-17-2) beat the visiting the Nashville Predators 2-1 at the Joe Louis Arena.
With the win, the Red Wings extend their NHL record to 22 straight wins on home ice. Datsyuk and Johan Franzen scored for the Red Wings while Joey MacDonald was superb in net as he made 20 saves for his fifth win of the season and his first career win against the Predators.
Nick Spaling scored the lone goal for the Predators and Pekka Rinne stopped 29 shots.
Franzen’s team-leading 23rd goal got the scoring started for the Red Wings at 12:44 of the first period when he got a pass from Todd Bertuzzi and whistled a shot from the slot that beat Rinne. Datsyuk started the play when he fell along the left-wing boards and passed the puck to Bertuzzi, leading to Franzen’s goal.
The Red Wings had a case of the relapses for most of the second period, but MacDonald held down the fort by making key stops, especially committing highway robbery on Martin Erat, who went in on a breakaway.
The home team’s lack of spark caught up with them as Nick Spaling tied the game at 1-1 when Jordan Tootoo stole the puck from Jakub Kindl and fed the puck to Spaling, beating MacDonald at 14:58 of the second period.
Both teams battled it out in the third period with comparisons to a playoff atmosphere, but couldn’t convert on their scoring chances.
With five seconds left, Datsyuk got a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and skate-faked Ryan Suter and went in the slot and beat Rinne top shelf with a wrist shot sending home the fans at the Joe very happy.
As of now, the Red Wings remain on top of the NHL standings with 82 points and have some breathing room in the Central Division with a five-point lead on the St. Louis Blues.
Pavel Datsyuk showed why he’s the best all-around player in the world. He can score, skate and pass the puck to Todd Bertuzzi while he’s laying on the ice.
Henrik Zetterberg registered his 600th NHL point with an assist to Datsyuk’s game-winning goal.
It’s enlightening to see Jonathon Ericsson show some muscle by pushing the opposition. If only he can do that on a regular basis….
The Red Wings can cross off defenseman Hal Gill off the Trade Deadline wish list, as he was traded from Montreal to Nashville earlier today. Gill didn’t play tonight for the Predators.
It was a nice run for Joey MacDonald as he filled in admirably for Howard. A career journeyman, Joey Mac can be the answer to a hockey trivia question for being the starting goaltender for the team that clinched their record-breaking 21st straight home win. He’s been a blessing to the Red Wings this season, posting five straight wins on home ice.
Speaking of which, could there be a goaltending controversy brewing in Hockeytown? Just kidding. The net will be owned once again by Jimmy Howard when he makes his return Sunday afternoon against the San Jose Sharks.
In fact, that is the Red Wings’ next game as they close out their homestand against a team that is their kryptonite. It is important to beat them in the playoffs, but with points on the line in the regular season, the Sharks own a 2-0 lead in the season series against the Red Wings.
Folks, let’s face it, the Red Wings’ home winning streak is legitimately on the line.
About the Author: Alex lives in Hockeytown, USA. He is a huge Red Wings fan going back to the 1985-86 season when they were dead last with 40 points. He has seen the transition from the 'Dead Wings' to one of the top franchises in sports. You can also follow him at twitter.com/alexmuscat73.