DETROIT (TICKER) —Even a three-goal lead could not halt the Detroit Red Wings’ winless streak.
Defenseman Kimmo Timonen and Denis Arkhipov scored 4:18 apart late in the third period to help erase a deficit and lift the Nashville Predators into a 5-5 tie with the Red Wings, extending Detroit’s winless skid to four games (0-2-2).
With just one victory in their last six contests, the Red Wings seemed well on their way to their 11th win in 14 home meetings with the Predators as Luc Robitaille snapped a 20-game goalless drought with 15 seconds left in the first period and Pavel Datsyuk tallied 81 seconds into the second. Datsyuk’s goal gave Detroit a commanding 5-2 lead.
But the Predators, who had dropped their previous two games, did not concede. Detroit native David Legwand scored his career-high 14th goal midway through the period and Timonen netted his second of the game at 12:30 of the third to draw Nashville within 5-4.
“Somehow, we got some extra energy in the second period and in the third period, we played even better,” Timonen said. “At the start, we were standing still watching what they were going to do. A team like Detroit will bury you if you stand still, and that’s what they did in the first period.”
“When you come from behind the whole game and tie it in the third period, it feels like a win,” Timonen said. “But we have to learn from it and not give a team like Detroit 3-1 and 4-2 leads.”
“It’s not the way I wanted to come back after the All-Star break,” Joseph said. “We’re just not playing well as a team. Pucks are hitting me and still going in. I feel that my movement and positioning are good, but they’re still going in.”
“Maybe it’s good that we didn’t pull this one out and win tonight because then we would have swept our mistakes under the rug,” Shanahan said. “These are mistakes that are going to end our season very early. It’s a defensive collapse by our team. Nothing against the Nashville Predators, I don’t care who we’re playing, but when we’ve got a 5-2 lead, we have to make it stick.”
“I’m frustrated,” Red Wings coach Dave Lewis said. “There’s a little disbelief in what I just saw happen. I’m disappointed, not in the team but in what I saw. We didn’t protect the lead, we didn’t get the job done killing penalties, but at the end, we still had a chance to win the game on the power play.”
Detroit victimized Vokoun twice in the opening 2:52 to take an early lead.
Datsyuk pounced on a turnover in the Nashville zone and fed Zetterberg, who beat the Czech native from the bottom of the left faceoff circle 67 seconds into the contest for his 10th goal.
Just 1:45 later, Draper gathered the rebound of Kirk Maltby’s shot and deposited it into the net from the right side for a two-goal Red Wings advantage.
The Predators capitalized on a lucky bounce to halve the deficit.
After an attempted pass deflected off referee Rob Shick’s skate in the Detroit zone, Yachmenev dished to Vladimir Orszagh, whose shot was stopped by Joseph. But the rebound made its way to the slot, where Eaton grabbed it and wristed a shot between the goalie’s pads at 7:55 for his first goal since January 28, 2002, a span of 43 games.
“As bad as we played in the first period, you could tell they weren’t the Red Wings we usually see,” Eaton said. “Tonight, they were ripe for the taking.”
Shanahan and Timonen traded tallies later in the session before Robitaille netted his first since December 17 to regain Detroit’s two-goal cushion.
“I’m not going to lie to you, this one feels great,” Robitaille said. “I’ve been working hard, but things didn’t seem to come. Right now is the time. I had a great weekend and I tried to get my mind off of it and come back refreshed. I just have to get going for the next 30 games.”
Datsyuk made it 5-2 early in the second, knocking in the rebound of Maltby’s shot, but Nashville began its comeback 10 1/2 minutes later when Legwand jumped on Scott Walker’s rebound and lifted it over a sprawled Joseph for his 40th point of the season, one shy of his career high.
“When you’re down 4-2 to the Stanley Cup champions after the first period, nothing’s going to be positive,” Legwand said. “We came in and reassessed the situation. We had to come back in the second period. Then when it got to 5-2, we knew we had to stop it at five and battle back.”
“We got off to a horrible start,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “This game is so mental and half the guys were still on their break. (Detroit) got three of its five goals in the first two or three minutes of the first two periods. That was unacceptable. Turnovers caused our own heartaches, but we regrouped. I give the guys a lot of credit.”
Timonen completed his second career multi-goal game with 7 1/2 to go in the third, wristing a shot from the right circle past Joseph to the far side to draw the Predators within a goal.