DETROIT (AP)—The Nashville Predators started and finished with a one-goal lead.
In a game suspended two months ago when Detroit defenseman Jiri Fischer collapsed on the bench with cardiac arrest, Scott Hartnell scored in the second period and the Predators held on to beat Detroit 3-2 on Monday night.
Although the teams played a full 60-minute game Monday, Nashville opened play with a 1-0 advantage on Greg Johnson’s goal from the game at Detroit on Nov. 21 that was stopped with 7:30 left in the first period.
Fischer, who attends occasional games and practices, is being treated with medicine, is undergoing regular tests and has not been cleared to play. The team has not given a timetable for the 25-year-old Czech’s return.
“It was the right decision to cancel our other game, especially being his friend from our national team,” said Nashville’s Tomas Vokoun, who made 39 saves. “You put life in front of everything because he was in immediate danger and he could’ve lost his life.”
The game resumed on a date originally scheduled to be Nashville’s home game against Detroit. The Predators will play that home game against the Red Wings on March 30.
“Obviously, you remember what happen because this was the makeup game,” Detroit center Jason Williams said. “Everybody knows Jiri is all right now, and we’re glad he’s OK. Everybody tries to put it in the back of their minds, but I’m sure some guys though about it.”
The Predators are 5-0-3 in their last eight games, pulling within of one point in the Central Division of the Western Conference-leading Red Wings. Detroit had won four straight.
“It’s a confidence-booster for everybody to win at their rink,” Vokoun said. “But the standings are so close, we can’t relax.
Manny Legace stopped just 12 shots for the Red Wings, who pulled the goalie in the final minute, but still could not get a shot past Vokoun.
“If you play like that, you’ll win 99 percent,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “We had a lot of opportunities to score. They went on the road and found a way to get a win.
“We’ve won a lot of games that we shouldn’t have won. This was one we probably should have won, but didn’t.”
Nashville took a 2-0 lead—on its first shot—early in the first period when Steve Sullivan scored on a breakaway.
“You shouldn’t watch tape on guys,” Legace said. “He scored three breakaway goals going top glove. So, I’m watching top glove and he goes 5-hole. Instead of playing the man, I played the tape.”
Hartnell, standing in front of Legace, redirected Kimmo Timonen’s shot from the top of the left circle at 9:30 of the second period.
After Sullivan’s goal, the next three scores were all on the power play.
“We knew special teams was going to be important,” Timonen said.
The Red Wings and Predators—the top two teams in the Central Division by a large margin—played their second of eight games. They will play Tuesday in Detroit, and two more times before the Olympic break next month. … Both teams began the game with only one loss in regulation in the division.