Viktor Arvidsson scored on the power play and Matt Duchene dished out two more assists, but it wasn’t enough, as the Nashville Predators fell to the Detroit Red Wings by a 5-3 final on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena.
It’s Nashville’s first loss on the young season, and it came against a Detroit team skating in their first game of the 2019-20 campaign.
The Preds and Red Wings traded chances throughout the night, but a slow start from the home team saw them having to play catch-up, and they were never able to find a go-ahead goal.
“We could have been better in the first, and I think we lost the game there,” Preds defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “It was their first game, so they had some excitement and some jump to it, and we couldn’t really match it in the first. That can’t happen in our barn on a Saturday night.”
“Not good enough,” Preds winger Filip Forsberg said of his club’s performance. “The first period was bad, obviously down 2-0, but the second period was really good. We came back. Like you said, it was back and forth. That’s not the hockey we want to play. It’s definitely not the hockey we talk about playing. We gave up too many chances and they score on two. There’s some positives, but overall not good.”
The Predators found themselves down by two after the game’s first 20 minutes, but they took care of the issue in the second period, and it started with their first power-play goal of the season.
Ryan Johansen found Duchene on the goal line, and Nashville’s newest centerman dished a brilliant backhand feed to Arvidsson who deposited a shot past Jimmy Howard to give the Preds life. It was a bright spot on the night, and a moment the Preds hope to replicate with regularity on the man advantage.
“It was a really nice play,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “It’s been really good having [Duchene] down there with some different thoughts coming in from ideas on what we’re looking for. Having [Duchene] down on that goal line and the left-hand shot is a perfect example of how it comes around, it goes down on that goal line and you have the stick there that you want. He’s got the ability to make plays like that, so it was a really nice goal.”
Later in the frame, Filip Forsberg walked in from the left circle and snapped a shot short side to even the score through 40 minutes. Duchene also collected a secondary assist on Forsberg’s tally for his second helper of the night.
Dylan Larkin gave Detroit their third goal of the night four minutes into the final frame, but less than a minute later, Ekholm took a Kyle Turris rebound and slid it home to tie the score again. That was as close as Nashville got, however, and midway through the period, Luke Glendenning put the Red Wings up for good when he beat Juuse Saros on an odd-man break at 9:24 of the third. Tyler Bertuzzi finished it off with an empty-netter, his second tally of the evening.
“You shouldn’t be trading chances against a team like Detroit,” Forsberg said. “They have a lot of offensive speed. In the second period, they didn’t really get anything get anything because we played the way we wanted to. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do that more.”
Nashville’s offensive lines continued to generate chances as they did in Thursday’s home opener, and all but three Predators skaters registered at least one shot on Saturday. However, the Preds gave up too much the other way, something that ultimately did them in in their second outing of the season.
“We fought back, the guys showed some courage with that, and we came back in the second and we played a lot better,” Ekholm said. “Going into the third we had a good feeling. I thought we played all right, but we can clean up a little bit defensively. We are getting the chances we want, but we can’t give up the point-blank chances that they’re getting. We could have played better tonight, but overall, I think they might have deserved this one.”
Daniel Carr and Matt Irwin were scratched for the Preds on Saturday night.
Matt Duchene finished the night with two assists and has five in his first two games with the Preds.
Tonight’s attendance of 17,539 is the 155th consecutive sellout at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville’s four-game homestand continues on Tuesday night when the San Jose Sharks come to town (at 7 p.m. CT). The Washington Capitals will visit Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.