DETROIT – The Nashville Predators scored only two goals on Tuesday night.
But it was enough for a win because the slumping Detroit Red Wings couldn’t get a puck past rookie Marek Mazanec.
Mazanec made 27 saves to earn his first shutout, helping Nashville extend the Wings’ skid to seven games with a 2-0 victory.
“He’s catching up to the level,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s confident after seeing some of the best players in the world. When you start facing those guys on a regular basis, you’re going to feel a little bit more confident if you have success.”
Shea Weber and Gabriel Bourque scored for Nashville, which has won two straight after losing four in a row.
“We’ve got to keep an even keel,” Trotz said.
The Red Wings are saying the same thing.
Detroit’s home slide reached eight games (0-6-2), the franchise’s longest stretch without a win at Joe Louis Arena since Jan. 12-30 1991, according to STATS.
“It’s just a frustrating time for us right now,” Jimmy Howard said after making 23 saves for the Red Wings. “It just doesn’t seem like anything’s going our way out there.”
The Red Wings have gone seven games without a win overall (0-5-2) for the first time since the last seven games of the 2001-02 regular season, according to STATS.
That team went on to hoist the Stanley Cup.
This one, though, appears to have a lot of heavy lifting ahead of it to contend for a championship.
“When you’ve lost that many in a row, it gets in your head,” Trotz said. “They haven’t really lost that many games.”
In regulation, that’s a fact. Detroit entered the game with an Eastern Conference-low five losses in regulation, but has lost all four of its shootouts and seven of eight games decided in overtime.
“There’s no excuses—whatsoever,” Red Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall said. “Our job is to win games and we haven’t been winning. Sure, we’ve been taking points here and there, but it’s about getting two points and we have to get back to that as soon as possible.”
Weber gave the Predators a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal with 4.8 seconds left in the second period.
The Red Wings failed to clear the puck out of their end and Weber took advantage. Weber kept the puck in Detroit’s end along the boards, passed it to David Legwand, who set him up perfectly for a slap shot just inside the blue line in the middle of the ice.
“That was a huge goal,” Trotz said. “We’re in Detroit and they’ve got guys like (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg, they’re dangerous.”
Bourque gave Nashville a two-goal lead at 7:13 of the third period, scoring on a rebound that caromed off the boards behind Howard.
The Red Wings lost their previous three games in shootouts and the two before those setbacks in overtime, but didn’t come close to pushing the Predators past regulation.
“They didn’t have a lot of good opportunities,” Mazanec said. “Our defence played great.”
Detroit’s defence lost a key player early in the game.
Red Wings rookie Danny DeKeyser injured his left shoulder after getting checked into the boards on his second shift and didn’t return. DeKeyser entered the game with two goals and ranked among rookie leaders with seven assists.
“He’s definitely not playing this week,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
NOTES: Former Red Wings defenceman Chris Chelios was honoured before the game for being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. … NHL and Red Wings executives announced before the game that the 2014 Winter Classic is sold out. The Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs are expected play in front of 107,000-plus people on New Year’s Day at Michigan Stadium. In the same football stadium, Michigan and Michigan State set a hockey attendance mark of 104,173 in 2010. … Legwand has three goals and 11 points in his past nine games, giving him a team-high 18 points this season.
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