NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Coach Barry Trotz wasted little time giving his Nashville Predators a reality check.
As giddy as they might have been in shutting down the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings 8-0 in front of a vocal capacity crowd Saturday night crowd, Trotz put it all in perspective.
“We knew they had played Friday night,” Trotz said. “We caught Detroit on a bad night for them. It is a gratifying win, but we have to keep it real. We can pat ourselves on the back for a night.”
It was the fourth straight win for the Predators, 11-5-1 since the All-Star break.
Jason Arnott scored three goals for Nashville’s first hat trick of the season.
“It’s always nice when you get a hat trick in a game, especially against Detroit,” Arnott said. “You don’t get too many goals against them. It’s always a special moment when you get three.”
Arnott admitted that he was just as surprised as anyone that the Predators were able to score eight goals.
“We came out and stuck to our game plan,” Arnott said. “We got a lot of lucky bounces that went in for us.”
Rookie Pekka Rinne stopped all 30 shots he faced for his sixth shutout of the season. It was the first time the Red Wings have been shut out this season. He completed the month of February with a 9-2-0 record.
“It’s not going to happen every day that you have a game like that,” Rinne said. “We just executed really well. We were well prepared for this game. But after leading 5-0 in the first period we were wondering what was going on.”
Even with the goals cushion Rinne did not relax against the Red Wings.
“I am well aware they have dangerous forwards,” Rinne said. “When you have a chance to have a shutout you do everything you can to keep a zero on the scoreboard. At the end that was my personal motivation.”
Ville Koistinen, David Legwand, Joel Ward, Antti Pihlstrom and Shea Weber also scored for the Predators, who chased Ty Conklin with four goals in the first 9:51.
Nashville had five first-period goals for the first time in franchise history.
“We wanted to get out real quickly,” Trotz said. “But we wanted to stay disciplined. We got goals from guys who are our scorers and from secondary scorers like Pihlstrom.
“Anytime you score some goals you have to realize how you are scoring them. We are moving the puck with speed, we are getting the puck in deep and going to the net hard. I was real happy for a lot of guys who have been frustrated offensively who got the opportunities to capitalize.”
It was the most goals allowed by Detroit in a game this season. They gave up seven against Pittsburgh on Nov. 11.
The Predators scored twice in 29 seconds to start the scoring onslaught. Koistinen scored the first goal at 4:48, redirecting Weber’s slapshot low to the left side and into the net against Conklin.
Legwand skated in low at 5:17 and took a shot at the edge of the crease that bounced off of Conklin. Legwand got control of the rebound and shot it behind Conklin from beside the right post.
Ward scored the third goal at 9:24. He shot the puck from behind the net. It bounced off of the stick of Detroit’s Brad Stuart and off of Conklin’s back before it fell into the goal.
At 9:51 Jordin Tootoo hit Pihlstrom with a pass as he went through the slot. Pihlstrom’s shot went high and bounced off Conklin in front of the net. Pihlstrom controlled the rebound and backhanded the puck between Conklin’s pads.
Chris Osgood then took over in goal for Detroit. The Predators wasted little time welcoming Osgood to the ice. Less than a minute after Osgood entered the game, Arnott, stationed near the left post, fired a shot into the net from close range.
At 14:13 of the second period Arnott scored his second goal of the night on the power play. Steve Sullivan’s shot was blocked and Arnott skated across the crease and backhanded a shot into the net.
Arnott scored his third goal at 13:16 of the period from in front of the net.
Detroit star Nicklas Lidstrom refused to use the excuse that the Red Wings were playing the second of back-to-back games.
“I think that is part of playing in the league,” Lidstrom said. “I don’t think we lost our focus, but I don’t think we responded as a team.”
Notes: Cal O’Reilly, recalled Saturday by the Predators from Milwaukee, earned an assist in his first NHL game. … The last time the Predators had scored five goals in a period was Jan. 5, 2007. … The Predators scored the last three goals of the first period in a span of 1:24 minutes, the fastest they have ever scored three goals on home ice.