Forward Gabriel Bourque gave the Predators a 3-1 lead with less than nine minutes to play, but an uncharacteristic Nashville parade to the penalty box gave the Red Wings ample opportunities late. An interference call on Jack Hillen was followed by a slashing penalty to give the Red Wings a two-man advantage in the final four minutes. Nashville's penalty-kill unit, playing without 6-foot-7 shot-blocker Hal Gill, killed the first penalty, but Tomas Holmstrom would score with 2:07 to play to pull Detroit to within one goal.
With goalie Jimmy Howard pulled, Martin Erat took a holding penalty with 23 seconds remaining, but the Predators were able to ice the puck and limit to Detroit to just one long-range shot that Pekka Rinne handled with ease.
For two of the least-penalized teams in the league, special teams played a surprisingly large role in the series opener. Both Red Wings goals were scored on the man advantage, with which the club played eight times on Wednesday night. The Predators had the man advantage six times, but were unable to score.
If a similar style of game plays out in Game 2 on Friday night, Nashville could be in trouble as they could be without defenseman Shea Weber, who might be subject to supplemental discipline after slamming the head of Henrik Zetterberg into the dasher in the final seconds. Weber was second on the Predators with 27:27 of ice time and played a team-high 8:28 on the penalty kill.
Stick with SBNation.com for full coverage of the Red Wings vs. Predators series. For more from the Detroit perspective, check in with SB Nation Detroit and Winging It In Motown.