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Published: Saturday, 3/31/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Wings' loss drops them to 5th

Nashville leapfrogs Detroit for home ice

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Red Wings' Nick Lidstrom, left, skates past a group of celebrating Predators after Gabriel Bourque (center) scored in the second period.
The Red Wings' Nick Lidstrom, left, skates past a group of celebrating Predators after Gabriel Bourque (center) scored in the second period.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

DETROIT -- The Nashville Predators moved ahead of the Detroit Red Wings in the race for home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs and gave their coach a milestone.

Gabriel Bourque and Francis Bouillon scored in the second period and Pekka Rinne made 31 saves to help Nashville beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 on Friday night for Barry Trotz's 500th victory with the team.

"Good for our franchise," Trotz said. "Sort of like we've arrived

Nashville is a point ahead of Detroit with four games left in the regular season to be the fourth-seeded team with home ice in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

"It doesn't mean anything right now," Nashville's Shea Weber said. "It gives us some confidence that we can come in here and win. If we don't win against Chicago [Saturday], we'll be back in the same situation with Detroit right on us."

Trotz is the fifth coach to win 500 games with one franchise, joining the New York Islanders' Al Arbour, Buffalo's Lindy Ruff, Chicago's Billy Reay, and Montreal's Toe Blake.

David Legwand, who like Trotz has spent his entire NHL career in Nashville, said it was a "great" accomplishment.

"All of us are proud of him for what he did," Legwand said.

Predators general manager David Poile, whose savvy drafting has helped the smaller-market franchise consistently win, is the first NHL general manager to win 500 games with two teams. He helped the Washington Capitals win 594 games from 1982-97 before getting the Predators ready for the 1998-99 season, their debut in the league.

"I admire him for how he's treated me and how he treats everybody," Trotz said.

The Predators have won three of their last four games.

Nashville split the six-game season series with Detroit in their last scheduled game, but the teams might meet again for the third time in the postseason.

The Red Wings were held scoreless on three power plays in the second period in part because Rinne made a sprawling glove save to prevent Henrik Zetterberg from scoring off a rebound.

"We had some real good looks," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "But their goaltender made some real good saves, particularly on [Zetterberg]."

Detroit's Jimmy Howard stopped 23 shots after missing four straight games with a groin injury.

"I felt really good out there," Howard said. "I just need to continue to get out there and play."

The Predators sealed the victory early in the third period when Alexander Radulov got open in front of the net took advantage of Andrei Kostitsyn's perfect pass for a three-goal lead.

Detroit spoiled Rinne's shutout with with 3:03 left when Jiri Hudler flicked a shot into the open net off Henrik Zetterberg's cross-crease pass. Weber added an empty-net goal in the final minute.

The Red Wings are struggling down the stretch toward their 21st straight postseason with eight losses in its last 10 games. The Red Wings have gone from leading the NHL in points to getting mathematically eliminated from catching Central Division-leading St. Louis.

"It felt like we couldn't lose here, but then the injury bug hit and things tailed off for us," Howard said. "But now we've pretty much got all our guys back, so we just got to find a way."

The Predators entered the game having killed 39 of the previous 43 penalties against them and refused to let an extra skater be an advantage for Detroit in the pivotal second period.

"We got to get playing way better than we have and feeling better about ourselves," Babcock said.



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