Usually when a team outshoots an opponent 42-19, the team on the lesser side of the shot count most likely loses the contest. On Saturday night in Nashville, the Predators threw everything they could against the Detroit Red Wings, but still came out with a 1-0 loss.
Goaltender Petr Mrazek stepped up big time for Detroit and didn’t play like his 3.20 GAA and .894 save percentage would suggest. He made pad save after pad save and completely stumped the Predators.
“Their goaltender definitely played great,” said Mike Fisher. “We created some chances, and it was one of those games where we just couldn’t find one. We played hard, we skated well, we did a lot of great things. Pekka played really well and made some huge saves at the right times too. It just felt like we were going to win that game through the whole thing. We just couldn’t find it. It was one of those games.”
Nashville did create chances, putting up 16 shots on goal in the second and 17 in the third. In the entirety of the game, the Predators had 50 shot attempts compared to Detroit’s 28. With those shot attempts however, Nashville still could have gotten more traffic to the net and picked up some of the rebounds Mrazek let up. In addition though, the Red Wings blocked 17 shots by Nashville.
All night, the game was chippy. There were multiple post-whistle shoving incidents and gatherings near the crease. For two teams that only see each other twice in the regular season, it certainly felt like the rivalry of old.
“It was a fast game,” said Fisher. “It was physical, it was a tight game. I thought we played hard. Just disappointing to not find that one. It felt like we were coming, but we just couldn’t.”
The team wasn’t in low spirits following the game. If anything, they seemed more at a loss of what more they could have done. There were missed opportunities, of course, but Nashville had a solid third period with power play chances to tie the game.
Nashville will continue its home stand on Tuesday night when Vancouver is back in town. It will mark the third time in less than a month that the two teams have faced each other. The Canucks are currently six points behind the Predators in the standings, so getting a victory to stay ahead in the conference standings will be ever important.
Fiddler acquired via trade
About an hour and a half before the puck dropped on Saturday night, news broke that the Nashville Predators acquired centerman Vernon Fiddler from the New Jersey Devils for a fourth round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Fiddler is a veteran center and was a part of the Predators organization from the 2002-03 season through the end of 2008-09.
While certainly adding to the depth at center, Fiddler won’t be counted on to provide offense. He’ll battle for a spot on the fourth line. Fiddler will also bring another veteran presence to the locker room and could be a stalwart on the penalty kill.
Pekka Rinne, who previously played with Fiddler, used these words to describe the new acquisition:
“Big time face off guy. Very reliable guy. Experience, obviously. I had a chance to play with him at the beginning of my career. Great team player. Good leader in the locker room. Excited to have him back here.”
It will be interesting to see where Fiddler slots in during the upcoming games. With all of the recent acquisitions, there are definitely some position battles that will take place.