Detroit Red Wings Kirk Maltby, left, skates past as teammate Dallas Drake, rear, flips over Nashville Predators center Vernon Fiddler during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Detroit, Saturday. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Carlos Osorio
DETROIT - At this rate, the Nashville Predators will soon be mumbling about bad bounces and officiating on a golf course.
Detroit's Kris Draper scored the tiebreaker off an opponent, Nick Lidstrom had a goal when one of his teammates could've been called for a penalty and Nashville had a goal waved off.
Regardless, the Red Wings beat the Predators 4-2 Saturday to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series.
The Red Wings took advantage of what appeared to be good fortune in Game 1 when offsides wasn't called just before they scored the game-winning goal.
Nashville general manager David Poile was critical of the officiating in both games while talking to reporters on Saturday between the second and third periods.
"Just make the right call," Poile said. "Between officials and supervisors, we can't get the right call."
Detroit coach Mike Babcock, of course, defended the men on skates wearing stripes and toting whistles.
"We had two high-end officials that are doing everything they can, just like us, to get to the Stanley Cup finals," Babcock bristled. "If you think for one second those guys aren't doing the best they can, you're mistaken."
The eighth-seeded Predators can only hope the calls and bounces go their way Monday night at home in Game 3 against the NHL's top-seeded team.
Detroit's Dominik Hasek made 25 saves, including all 15 shots he faced in the first period.
"Dom is the story," Babcock said. "We turned the puck over in the first period more times than we would give up in five games."
Darren McCarty's story is pretty good, too.
McCarty added to his comeback from drinking, divorce and bankruptcy by putting the Red Wings ahead 1-0 early in the game by scoring off a rebound.
He flashed his gap-tooth grin, jumped off the ice like a little kid and his adoring fans at Joe Louis Arena created a buzz in the arena unlike any in recent years.
"You can't help but cheer for people that are trying to get their life back on track," Babcock said. "Especially with a guy like that has worked so hard and is one of the favourite sons in Detroit."
Lidstrom gave Detroit a two-goal lead in the opening minute of the second period when Tomas Holmstrom could've been called for goaltender interference.
"When I really watched it in review, his feet were in the blue," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "According to the rules, you can't be in the blue."
Trotz was also seething that Nashville wasn't credited with a goal early in the game because the net was knocked out of place.
"The puck was clearly in the net and the net was on its moorings," he said. "The explanation was that they were about to blow the whistle.
"I think that's a bailout."
The Predators dug themselves out of the hole, erasing Detroit's cushion in an 11-second span when Alexander Radulov and Jordin Tootoo scored early in the second to make it 2-all.
Radulov took advantage of a fortunate carom on his goal when Martin Erat dumped the puck into the corner, and it went to the front of the net while Hasek went behind it.
Detroit called a timeout after Tootoo's goal.
"We settled down after that, but probably in retrospect it was one shift late," Babcock said.
The Red Wings took the lead a couple minutes later after Draper pushed the puck to the front of the net and it went off a Predator's skate and into the net.
Holmstrom gave Detroit another two-goal lead when he scored off a rebound midway through the third.
While the Red Wings took advantage of some breaks, Nashville hurt its chances by getting called for penalties when it was on the power play - as it did in Game 1 - and by going to the penalty box in the final minutes while trying to rally.
"We proved that we can play with them," Predators centre Radek Bonk said. "Just lost because of a couple of lucky bounces."
Notes: Detroit D Chris Chelios was on the ice for his 248th playoff game, breaking the NHL record set by Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy. ... With Nashville F David Legwand (foot) out for another game and F Scott Nichol (broken finger) out for the series, Trotz put F Darcy Hordichuk in the lineup instead. ... Faces in the crowd included NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Kid Rock. ... Tootoo scored Nashville's only goal in Game 1. ... The Red Wings didn't have a fan in every seat during their two home games, but did draw much larger crowds than they had last post-season when several rows in some sections were empty.