Center Paul Gaustad scored six minutes and 59 seconds into the action, when his wrister deflected off Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart's skate and behind goaltender Jimmy Howard. Brandon Yip and Francis Bouillon were credited with assists on the goal, which was Gaustad's first with the Predators, who acquired him at the trade deadline.
The real story of the first 20 minutes was the amount of penalties called on the two least-penalized teams during the NHL's regular season. The Red Wings went on the power play just 1:50 into the game when Yip was called for roughing. That power play would be cut short after Johan Franzen was called for roughing after mixing it up with Predators defenseman Shea Weber in front of goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Detroit got a second power play midway through the period, when Gabriel Bourque was called for boarding Ian White. Nashville finished the period 0-for-4 on the power play, including a 1:14 two-man advantage late in the period.
Nashville outshot the Red Wings 13-to-5 and were 15-of-22 inside the faceoff circle. Predators defensemen Ryan Suter and Weber led all skaters with 11:07 of ice time in the first period, nearly half of which came on the power play. Right wing Henrik Zetterberg led the Red Wings with 8:48 of ice time.
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