Surprising cast helps Red Wings defeat Predators
This was one of those games the Red Wings have had few of in the last couple of years.
Everything worked for the Wings, and many players made contributions (including some unexpected sources) as the Wings defeated the Nashville Predators, 4-2
The Wings (4-10-2) salvaged a split of the two-game series in Nashville — they went 2-4-0 on this trip — and now return to Little Caears Arena on Monday, against Chicago, to begin their own six-game homestand.
"We felt like we were playing well lately and not coming out with the two points," said. forward Adam Erne, who scored a goal. "That's our next step, coming away with these games and that was huge for us. Hopefully we can carry this to Monday."
Robby Fabbri (third goal in four games), Erne (first goal in 36 games, dating to last season), Luke Glendening (first goal in 42 games) and Anthony Mantha scored for the Wings.
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier, who hadn’t started a game since Jan. 28 because of an upper-body injury, stopped 20 shots, wasn't overly-worked but made some timely, needed saves.
"Bernie made a couple of big saves early, big chances, and you can kind of keep playing and forget about those mistakes and then you build the lead," Blashill said.
Despite the time off, Bernier felt sharp.
"A little bit tired toward the end, I didn't really get much practice time to get in shape, but overall I was seeing the puck pretty good," Bernier said.
Nashville’s Filip Forsberg scored the Predators’ first goal, banking a puck off Marc Staal’s skate past Bernier at 7:57 of the third period.
But Mantha ended any suspense with his fifth goal, a blast off a 2-on-1 rush, restoring the Wings' three-goal lead, before Rocco Grimaldi scored for Nashville in the final seconds.
"We've played pretty good (five) games in a row here," Blashill said. "We could have been rewarded the last game against Nashville (losing in the final minute), so it's good to find ways to win. We came out after a gut punch of a loss and we talked as a group these are the moments that show your character and you have to come back and play great hockey."
Fabbri opened the scoring with his fourth goal, snapping a quick shot from a Valtteri Filppula feed from behind the net at 4:59.
The Wings expect Fabbri to score. But to get goals from fourth-liners Erne and Glendening might have been an omen of good things to come.
Erne drove down the ice and backhanded a shot past Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne at 12:24.
Bernier preserved the two-goal lead with a sprawling save on Matt Duchene with just 2 seconds left in the first period.
"He just couldn't believe it," said Bernier, who caught an earful from Duchene after the save. "He made a good move, and it's a slow moving puck coming to the net, so I was just trying to cover the low part and he didn't shoot it right away, so I got lucky there."
Glendening extended the lead to 3-0 with his first goal at 17:22 of the second period, backhanding a shot that hit Rinne and tumbled into the net.
Glendening, returning to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury, scored his first three points of the season (his first career three-point game) adding assists on Erne and Mantha's goals.
"It was good to have him back, he's a big piece of our team," Blashill said. "We got crushed in the faceoff circle the other night, and he can win big faceoffs. He's a big heart and soul guy and our guys know what he brings to the table.
"For him to get rewarded offensively is good. He's worked very hard at his skill set to make himself a better hockey player."