Red Wings even series with Predators
Detroit Red Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall, centre, checks Nashville Predators right wing Patric Hornqvist, right, off the puck as goalie Jimmy Howard, left, looks for the puck during the first period during Game 2 of their NHL Western Conference quarter-final hockey playoffs in Nashville, Tennessee April 13, 2012. (REUTERS/M. J. Masotti Jr.)
Backed by 24 saves from Jimmy Howard, the Detroit Red Wings took a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of a Western Conference quarterfinal series.
The win ties the best-of-seven series and gives Detroit home-ice advantage as the next two contests will be played in the Motor City with Game 3 set for Sunday at noon (et).
Ian White, Cory Emmerton and Johan Franzen all lit the lamp for the Red Wings, who are in the playoffs for the 21st straight season.
"We'll take the best-of-five and go back to our building and get out of here," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. "We'll be a better hockey club. This is a good win for our team. We'll take a step now."
Shea Weber and Andrei Kostitsyn scored the goals for the Predators, who got just 14 saves from Pekka Rinne.
"I thought we played really well," said Rinne. "They didn't really get anything, they were tired, they had to defend a lot, but they did a good job defending, and we didn't give them much offensively. It's obviously frustrating when the score is this way and we created a lot of chances."
The Red Wings scored two goals in the first period and the first came at the 8:25 mark. Tomas Holmstrom pushed the puck back to the right point for White, who skated to the top of the circle and snuck a wrister past Rinne.
The next goal came seven minutes later when Cory Emmerton blocked a shot in his own zone and skated the other way. From the inside left circle he fired a wrister high past Rinne for his first career playoff goal.
The Predators cut their deficit in half at the 9:01 mark of the second period when Kostitsyin corraled a loose puck at the inside right circle and snapped a wrister into the net.
Detroit, though, got it back just 56 seconds later when a shot at a sharp angle to the left of the net by Brad Stuart hit off of Franzen in front and got past Rinne.
Nashville made it a one-goal game with 4:44 to play as a blind backhand pass from Paul Gaustad at the left side of the net hit off the stick of Howard and went to the front where Weber flung a high backhander in.
That was it, though, as the Predators were unable to net the equalizer even with Rinne pulled late for an extra attacker.
Nashville defenseman Hal Gill was out with a lower body injury ... Detroit forward Darren Helm was also out after having his wrist cut by a skate during a collision with Nashville's Alexander Radulov in Game 1 ... Weber was fined $2,500 on Thursday after slamming Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg's head into the glass in the closing seconds of Game 1. Weber and Detroit's Todd Bertuzzi fought early in the first period ... Nashville was 0-for-6 on the power play while Detroit was 0-for-2.