DETROIT – The Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings are going in opposite directions.
Colin Wilson, Martin Erat and J.P. Dumont scored and Anders Lindback made 35 saves to help Nashville beat Detroit 3-2 on Wednesday night.
It was the injury-riddled Predators’ fourth win in five games and the sixth straight contest in which they’ve earned at least a point.
“There’s not any superstars on this team,” Nashville captain Shea Weber said. “So we need all 20 guys to play as a team.”
Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist and Johan Franzen also scored for the Red Wings, who lost their third straight and second in a row in regulation. Jimmy Howard stopped 21 shots.
“I thought they were better than us at the start tonight, for sure,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “We weren’t skating. They were on top of us. We spotted them a two-goal lead,”
The bad start came after the Red Wings were outplayed in the second and third periods by San Jose on Monday night in a 5-2 loss.
“The San Jose game was a bad game all the way around, try to forget about that,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “This one, the first half we weren’t good enough and that’s what we’ve got to change, We’ve got to play better for 60 minutes.”
The Predators opened the scoring with 32 seconds left in the first period on Wilson’s sixth goal. He tapped Cal O’Reilly’s pass into an empty net from in front. The play was the result of Franzen’s turnover just inside the Predators’ blue line.
“We started out well, had a good first period,” Lindback said. “We went out and had the puck most of the time which, I hear, is rare here.”
Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom praised Lindback.
“He played real well. They were making it hard on us, kind of forcing us on the outside but he made some good saves,” Lidstrom said. “He’s a big guy in net, he covers a lot of net. It wasn’t easy to get some pucks by him tonight.”
Nashville outshot Detroit 14-8 in the period.
“The first period we played the way we said we wanted to play and maybe caught them off guard,” Predators’ coach Barry Trotz said.
Erat was credited with the goal that gave Nashville a 2-0 lead just 49 seconds into the second when the rebound of his shot bounced in off Red Wings defenceman Jonathan Ericsson.
The Predators’ Kevin Klein swept a rolling puck off the goal line behind Lindback with just over 11 minutes left in the middle period.
“That’s what we do for each other. We work hard for each other,” Lindback said. “That’s a huge save by Kleiner.”
Datsyuk’s short-handed goal with 6:56 left in the second period cut the Predators’ lead to 2-1. He put in his own rebound by swatting the puck out of the air for his ninth goal.
Dumont gave Nashville a 3-1 lead with 5:23 left on a wrist shot from the right circle on a 2-on-1.
Franzen cut it to a goal with 1:33 remaining with his 13th of season.
NOTES: Nashville C David Legwand returned after missing nine games because of a lower-body injury. He left the game in the second period after re-aggravating the injury. But Trotz said he expected Legwand to play against Florida on Saturday. Legwand was born in Detroit. … Detroit sent D Jakub Kindl to its AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids for a two-week conditioning stint. … Erat went to the locker room with 8:55 left in the second period after getting an accidental stick in the face from Tomas Holmstrom. Erat was face down on the ice before being attended to by the trainer. Trotz said he took “three or four stitches” near the corner of his eye. Holmstrom received a double minor for high-sticking.