DETROIT (AP)—The Detroit Red Wings have plenty of skill.
And just enough luck.
Mathieu Schneider’s slap shot went off goaltender Tomas Vokoun and off the boards before hitting Vokoun’s skate and trickling into the net with 2:45 left to give Detroit a 2-1 victory Saturday over the Nashville Predators.
“I thought it was underneath him, I turned my head and thought the play was over,” Schneider said. “I can’t believe it went in.
“I think it’s probably a little deflating for them to go through the whole game and lose in the last couple of minutes.”
The Red Wings are ahead 2-0 in the first-round series because they have outscored the Predators 4-0 in the third period. In Game 1, Nashville took a one-goal lead into the third period before losing 3-1.
“We were right there again,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said.
The teams will make a quick turnaround and play Game 3 of the best-of-seven series Sunday in Nashville.
The winning goal in Game 2 came on the power play after the Red Wings were 0-for-9 in the series with an extra man. Schneider’s shot from above the right circle went off Vokoun’s arm, then behind him before caroming toward the net where the sprawled-out goalie had the misfortune of having the puck go off his skate.
Vokoun laid flat on his back as the crowd cheered.
“It doesn’t matter how you win,” Detroit’s Darren McCarty said. “It doesn’t have to be pretty.”
Nashville’s Vladimir Orszagh tied it at 1 midway through the second period and Vokoun kept the Predators in it with 26 saves. The Predators were 0-for-6 on the power play Saturday and are 0-for-9 for the series.
“We’re standing in a bit of a hole,” Trotz said.
Legace was sharp one day after he was hit on his mask by a puck during practice. Legace said he was unconscious for a couple minutes before he left the ice and was examined by two doctors.
“I feel fine—we won,” he said. “It would’ve been worse if we lost.”
Lang’s second goal of the series—which he poked past Vokoun—put the Red Wings ahead 1-0 at 5:45 of the second period.
“He’s dangerous right now,” Red Wings coach Dave Lewis said of the center acquired from Washington in February.
Shortly after Vokoun stopped Ray Whitney on a short-handed breakaway, Nashville tied it midway through the second. Orszagh fooled Legace with a move between the circles off a centering pass from Martin Erat, then went crashing into the post—face first.
“My head feels like a melon,” Orszagh said.
The Predators were without standout defenseman Marek Zidlicky, who left Wednesday’s game with what the team is calling “an upper body injury.” Zidlicky was third on the team during the regular season with 53 points, and was a key player on the power play.
“That has to hurt them,” Lewis said.
Detroit has the most playoff experience among teams in the postseason, and the Predators have the least.
Nashville began the playoffs with a combined 247 games of postseason experience, while the Red Wings have 11 players who have played at least 100 games, led by Chris Chelios with 216.
Detroit is making its 53rd postseason appearance and 14th consecutive whileNashville is in the playoffs for the first time in its six-season history.
While airborne, Orszagh’s right skate hit Nicklas Lidstrom’s left hand and Detroit’s star defenseman returned after getting stitches. … Nashville’s top two scorers—Steve Sullivan and Scott Walker—haven’t registered a point in the playoffs. … Orszagh, playing his second playoff game, scored his firstpostseason goal. … Both goalies made their second career playoff starts.