DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings’ three best players combined on a spectacular late goal to bring them within one victory of another record.
Pavel Datsyuk scored with five seconds left to give the Red Wings’ their 22nd consecutive home victory, 2-1 over the Nashville Predators on Friday night.
Three nights after breaking the NHL single-season record for consecutive home victories, the NHL-leading Red Wings tied Boston’s multiple-season mark. The Bruins closed the 1929-30 season with 20 victories at home and won their first two the following season.
Detroit can break the record Sunday against San Jose.
After taking a pass from Henrik Zetterberg, Datsyuk beat Pekka Rinne with a high wrist shot from the slot after making a move to elude defenceman Ryan Suter. It was Datsyuk’s 16th goal.
The play developed after a faceoff in the Nashville zone with 15 seconds left.
“Z (Zetterberg) made a great pass. I jump on the side,” Datsyuk said. “I prefer to shoot because I don’t know how much time (was left in the game).”
Nicklas Lidstrom patiently controlled the puck while slowly skating backward in the neutral zone and then passed it to Zetterberg along the left boards. Zetterberg hit Datsyuk with a backhand pass as Datsyuk was crossing the Nashville blue-line.
“Well, he comes with a lot of speed and the D is basically standing still, so you don’t want any player coming down there, especially Pav,” Zetterberg said. “And he makes a really good move and takes a really good shot, so he’s a very nice player, a very skilled player.”
Rinne said he thought it was a set play between Datsyuk and Zetterberg, who were reunited on the same line by Detroit coach Mike Babcock early in the third period.
“Not really,” Zetterberg said. “I kind of took a look and saw Pavel over there, so I knew there were just a few seconds left so there was nothing to lose so I tried to get him the puck and got lucky as it went through a lot of sticks before it got to him and he did the rest.”
Datsyuk also had an assist—while lying on the ice—on Johan Franzen’s goal. Joey MacDonald made 20 saves, allowing only Nick Spaling’s goal. Pekka Rinne stopped 29 shots.
“We should’ve had a point tonight,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “We’re five seconds away from getting a point. But great players make great plays.”
Earlier in the day, Nashville acquired veteran defenceman Hal Gill and a conditional fifth-round pick in the 2013 draft from Montreal in exchange for a second-round pick in 2012 and forwards Blake Geoffrion and Robert Slaney.
Spaling tied it at 1-1 with 5:02 left in the second period with his ninth goal. He beat MacDonald with a one-time shot from the bottom of the left circle after Jordin Tootoo took the puck from Detroit defenceman Jakub Kindl in the left corner and set up Spaling.
Franzen opened the scoring with 7:16 left in the first period. He beat Rinne from the slot after taking a pass from Todd Bertuzzi. Datsyuk passed the puck to Bertuzzi while lying on the ice along the left-wing boards.
“I think it was a sniper that shoot me in the leg in the corner,” Datsyuk joked. “I fall. That’s why I pull the puck back with my stick. I just throw it to the middle. Bert (Bertuzzi) got it. We’re still looking (for the sniper). We have to watch, see what happened.”
It was Franzen’s 23rd goal.
NOTES: Gill arrived at Joe Louis Arena and met his new Predators teammates before the game but didn’t play. … Zetterberg played Friday night after sustaining a lower-body injury Tuesday night against Dallas. The team originally thought he would miss Friday’s game but he improved faster than expected. He got his 600th career point with an assist on Datsyuk’s goal.