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Preds try for another offensive outburst against Red Wings
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators broke out of their scoring slump in a big way the last time out. The Preds will try to keep the offense going on Tuesday, when they visit the sliding Detroit Red Wings for a battle at Joe Louis Arena.
Nashville went 0-4-0 from Nov. 8-15 and scored a total of two goals during that slide, but the club posted a season-high seven goals in Saturday's 7-2 rout of the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. It was the first regulation setback for the Blackhawks since Oct. 26.
The Preds jumped out to a 4-0 lead Saturday against the defending Stanley Cup champions and never allowed Chicago to get closer than two goals of the lead after that. Craig Smith posted a goal and two assists for Nashville, while Shea Weber, Matt Cullen and Patric Hornqvist each had a goal and one helper.
"It's been a tough couple of games," said Smith. "I thought we did a great job sticking with it."
Marek Mazanec stopped 39 shots for Nashville to earn his first career win. Mazanec expects to get the start over Carter Hutton again on Tuesday.
With this evening's tilt in Detroit, the Predators are playing on the road for the eighth time in nine games. Nashville, which will complete a two-game swing with Thursday's tilt in Toronto, is 4-7-1 as the guest this season.
Although the Red Wings enter Tuesday on a six-game losing streak, the club has earned a point in five straight games. Detroit's last three contests ended in shootout defeats, including a 5-4 road loss Saturday against the New York Islanders. Frans Nielsen scored the lone shootout goal to help the Isles notch their fifth straight win in the series against the Red Wings.
Nielsen beat Jonas Gustavsson on a backhander to begin the tiebreaker. Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, whose second goal forced overtime, were both turned away by Kevin Poulin before Todd Bertuzzi missed the net with his backhand attempt.
Gustavsson, making his first start since Oct. 17, stopped 37 shots for Detroit, which is on its first six-game slide since an 0-4-2 stretch from March 10-21, 2012.
The last time Detroit went seven games without a win was from Dec. 18-31, 1998, when it was 0-6 with a tie. The Red Wings haven't lost seven straight games since Jan. 14-30, 1991.
Detroit was outshot 15-4 in the third, but Datsyuk managed to send the game to overtime. Playing in his 800th NHL game, the smooth Russian whipped a backhander from a sharp angle into the net off Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald with 42.5 seconds remaining and Gustavsson pulled for an extra skater.
"We never really got going in the third. I thought they skated well," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock.
Datsyuk has 11 goals this season to lead Detroit. Zetterberg is next on the team with 10 markers, but no other Red Wing has more than five goals.
Tuesday's matchup is the first of two scheduled meetings between the Predators and Red Wings this season. The clubs had been divisional foes before the Red Wings moved from the Western to Eastern Conference prior to this season as part of the NHL's realignment plan.
Detroit has taken three straight overall in the series against the Preds and Nashville has lost four of its past five games in the Motor City.
The Red Wings are beginning a three-game homestand tonight, but are only 3-2-5 as the host this season.
11/19 10:56:57 ET
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