Tale of the Tape: Red Wings vs Predators

On Sunday, the Detroit Red Wings will host the Nashville Predators in Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal (12:00 pm ET, NBC). The series is tied at 1-1; here’s a look at recent history between the two clubs.

Leading scorers

Detroit: Tomas Holmstrom (1G-1A-2PTS) | Nashville: Gabriel Bourque (2G-0A-2PTS), Nick Spaling (0G-2A-2PTS), and Paul Gaustad (1G-1A-2PTS)

Starting goalies

Detroit: Jimmy Howard (1-1, 2.53 GAA) | Pekka Rinne (1-1, 2.52 GAA)

Head-to-head

(Reg. season series tied 3-3)

Nov. 26: At Detroit 4, Nashville 1
Dec. 15: At Nashville 4, Detroit 3
Dec. 26: Detroit 4, at Nashville 1
Feb. 17: At Detroit 2, Nashville 1
March 10: At Nashville 3, Detroit 2
March 30: Nashville 4, at Detroit 1

Game 1: Nashville 3, Detroit 2

The Predators started strongly, outshooting Detroit 13-5 in the first period. One of Nashville’s many midseason acquisitions, Paul Gaustad, beat Jimmy Howard to provide the Predators with the first goal of the series.

From that point on, the Red Wings did a much better job of putting pressure on the Predators, outshooting them 32-13 over the final 40 minutes. However, Pekka Rinne, as he was so many times in the regular season, proved to be the difference.

Although Detroit beat him twice with the man advantage, Rinne kept Nashville in the contest despite Detroit’s best efforts. Rookie Gabriel Bourque did the rest, scoring two goals for the Predators to help them claim Game 1 of the series.

The end of the contest was marked with Shea Weber shoving Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the glass. Weber’s actions resulted in a $2,500 fine, but no suspension.

Game 2: Detroit 3, Nashville 2

Frustration over Weber’s shove spilled into Game 2, when Todd Bertuzzi fought Weber 1:36 minutes into the contest. After that point, both sides were focused on the present rather than the past.

Detroit got some offense from unusual sources in the first period, namely Ian White and Cory Emmerton. Thanks to their efforts, Detroit had a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.

After that, the Predators struggles with the man advantage – odd, give the excelled on the power play during the regular season – became apparent. Detroit was tagged with five minor penalties in the final 40 minutes of play, but Nashville was never able to capitalize.

Nashville did get goals from Andrei Kostitsyn and Weber when the teams were at even strength, but they are still searching for their first power-play success of the postseason. That’s perhaps the biggest reason this series is now tied going into Game 3.

Injuries

Detroit: Darren Helm (forearm), Joey MacDonald (back), Patrick Eaves (concussion)

Nashville: Hal Gill (lower body), Brian McGrattan (upper body)

Fight video: Brouwer makes Watson pay for Hathaway hit

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Austin Watson nodded with recognition after landing a questionable hit on Garnet Hathaway on Saturday, as he understood why Troy Brouwer demanded immediate retribution.

And, as you can see from the video above the headline, Brouwer got that bloody payback after beating Watson in a fight.

Watson (who isn’t that far removed from a two-game suspension) was ejected for his hit. It wasn’t the only nasty moment between the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames, either, as the toxic exchanges included Anthony Bitetto‘s ugly cross-check on Sam Bennett.

(Video or a GIF of Bitetto’s hit will be added if it becomes available.)

Some other penalties reduced some of the advantage for the Flames, but they ultimately still received serious man-advantage opportunities amid all of the violence, and they weren’t able to convert.

The best news is that Hathaway might end up being OK after a scary-looking check. He returned to the game during the third period.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Should Erik Johnson be suspended for ugly play on Namestnikov?

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Vladislav Namestnikov has been the Mikael Renberg equivalent on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Legion of Doom with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov for much of this season, complimenting those two scorers with strong work of his own.

The Lightning were lighting up the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night, perhaps frustrating Erik Johnson and others. Whatever the explanation might be, it was a pretty ugly sight when Johnson slashed and then boarded Namestnikov, earning those two penalties plus a game misconduct.

Plenty of people believe that supplemental discipline would be merited for Johnson’s actions. For what it’s worth, “Names” did return to action in the third period. We’ve seen instances where players return only to be hurt anyway, so we’ll see if the nifty winger sees any delayed issues.

Johnson, 29, was suspended for two games by the NHL back in 2014, but has a generally clean history otherwise.

The Lightning ultimately ended up beating the Avalanche 6-5, as Nathan MacKinnon almost led a rally with two power-play goals.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Senators blank Canadiens in NHL 100 Classic

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One win, even in the frosty outdoors for the NHL 100 Classic, only means so much.

Still, the Ottawa Senators probably experienced some ice-cold relief on Saturday, beating the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 during a tightly defended outdoor bout.

It was 0-0 for much of the game until Jean-Gabriel Pageau tipped an Erik Karlsson shot for the first goal with about five minutes remaining in the second period. Bobby Ryan then capitalized on a rough Jonathan Drouin turnover to make it 2-0, while an empty-netter iced the icy evening for Ottawa.

For a night, it was a fun time, and Karlsson reminded us what all the fuss is about, as he logged a ridiculous 32:55 of ice time. And he seemed to be having a good time doing it.

This night laid the “Canadian” on thick, with Bryan Adams performing during the event, and Gary Bettman posing for photos with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

via Getty

Weird, but OK then.

Generally speaking, things haven’t been that OK for the Senators lately. Such headaches did surface during this frosty-mug-on-ice event, as owner Eugene Melnyk inspired a #Melnykout hashtag on Twitter, not to mention icy barbs like these.

Fair criticisms about the Sens’ bigger picture aside, Ottawa looked nice tonight, with Karlsson shining and Craig Anderson pitching a rare shutout outdoors (shutoutdoors)?

Carey Price generated some nice saves of his own, but couldn’t will Montreal to win in his 10th consecutive start. The Habs rarely got things going against the Senators, seen most easily in Ottawa’s 38-28 advantage in shots on goal.

Nights like these make a bigger impact on fans’ memories and bottom lines, but this marks consecutive wins for the Senators either way. Considering the fact that the Senators hadn’t put back-to-back wins together since they faced the Avalanche in two contests in Sweden, it might not be a big deal, yet it’s far better than the nothing they’ve been coming up with far too often lately.

Also

In other news from the event, Mario Lemieux’s “five goals, five different ways” was named as the NHL’s greatest moment, voted by fans:

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Sadly, Capitals aren’t selling this collection of Christmas songs

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Let’s be honest, virtually any time a team gets its players to embrace a holiday theme, it’s in the name of goofiness. And bless NHL teams for this.

When it comes to Movember, you get the fantastic combination of mustaches and charitable contributions.

The holidays are rapidly approaching (hey, I see that Amazon tab open), so we’ll start to see various New Year’s/Christmas/Festivus/etc.-themed fun. Even with that in mind, the Washington Capitals will be tough to top with their collection of Christmas tunes.

Sadly, there’s no Volume 1:

Question: which performance stood out to you the most? While Braden Holtby was fantastic (with a Tomas Plekanec-level turtleneck game), the simple entertainment of watching Alex Ovechkin sing is tough to top.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.