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WINGS POST-GAME: WITKOWSKI!

The Wings rolled into Nashville yesterday with all of their dads. This annual trip that every team does could add an extra layer of pressure on the players – having to perform in front of their biggest fans – but the Wings managed that beautifully with a 3-1 victory over the Nashville Predators.

THE RUNDOWN

Detroit played a good first period, out-shooting the Pred 7-6, but the real excitement came in the first five minutes. Luke Witkowski, who was filling in for Mike Green on defense, received a pass at center ice from Anthony Mantha. He was in all alone on Juuse Saros and made a nifty move to score his first ever NHL goal.

As someone who is not a huge supporter for Witkowski, I have to say this one was a nice sight. He was very excited, smiling from ear-to-ear after he scored.

About six minutes later, Detroit added to their lead when Gustav Nyquist re-directed a Nick Jensen shot from the blueline through Saros’ five hole.

Nashville came roaring back in the second period, but they couldn’t solve Petr Mrazek. They fired off 14 shots at 5v5 and didn’t get a single shot on goal on their only powerplay opportunity.

Mrazek continues his strong play into the third period. In the opening minute, Calle Jarnkrok was in all alone and turned away by the young goaltender.

He can’t be expected to stop every breakaway, though. About five minutes into the third period, Craig Smith was in all alone and beat Mrazek on a quick glove-side shot.

Now that the Predators were within one, the game became a little more… tense. Detroit was out-shot 11-7 in the third period, but Mrazek played phenomenally and kept the Wings in it. Darren Helm added one more on the empty net to seal the deal for the Red Wings.

It was a 3-1 regulation win, which meant a big two points in Tennessee.

THE STATS

So… yeah. Detroit was badly out-played in this game. They did out-shoot the Preds, though, which is a rare occurrence for these Red Wings. At the end of the day, any win for the Wings is a big win, especially at this point of their season. Stealing a victory like this, even if they were out-played, does wonders for the team’s confidence.

MOTOR CITY MVP

I mean… It’s Witkowski, right? It’s gotta be. Playing defense. Sent on a breakaway. A nice move to beat the goalie. First ever NHL goal. There’s no better story than that. Luke Witkowski is hands down this game’s Motor City MVP.

NEXT UP

The Wings are back in action tomorrow night. They’ll be back at home, hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs, at Little Caesars Arena. Both teams will be tired as they are in the second half of their back-to-back games, so anything can happen. Puck drop is 7:00 P.M. ET and you can watch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or Sportsnet if you’re tuning in from Canada.

As always, we’ll have the pre-game report up on WingsNation.com early Sunday afternoon.