Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images
We at The Predatorial hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend and saved a bit of energy for the Nashville Predators game at Bridgestone Arena against an old adversary: The Detroit Red Wings.
Nashville got a few early Christmas presents this year starting with the 4 game home win streak, two amazing comeback wins against Columbus and a come-from-behind win against these same Detroit Red Wings.
The question on the night is can the Predators jump out to a lead instead of trying to achieve the impossible comeback on a game-by-game basis?
This Year’s Series: 1-1-0 (1-0-0 Home, 0-1-0 Away)
Looking at the Red Wings: Since losing to Nashville on December 15th, the Red Wings have a 2-2-0 record to show before tonight’s matchup. The Wings, however, did manage to seriously dent the L.A. Kings to the tune of an 8-2 ripping. The other games have all been very close match-ups.
It is not surprising that Datsyuk, Franzen, Filppula, Zetterberg and Lidstrom top out the point producers for the Red Wings. What is surprising is that a team where many hockey writers pegged would sustain injuries to their aging core, the Red Wings top five have missed a total of one game and that was the youngest of the group: Valterri Filppula.
Looking at the Predators: An amazing come-from-behind win against Columbus, battling back from two 3-goal deficits, was not enough momentum on the back-to-back games to lift the Predators over the Dallas Stars. Dallas took full advantage over the emotional win the night before in Nashville to jump out to a three goal lead in the first and run goaltender Pekka Rinne on a 3 goal/7 shot night.
The Predators battled back numerous times cutting the lead to one goal on two occasions but the Dallas Stars would answer back quickly and took away any momentum the Predators might be able to muster winning 6-3.
For the Red Wings to win: Rely on their #1 goaltender Jimmy Howard and keep playing the chemistry-laden game plan that has brought them success year after year. Coach Babcock has done a masterful job, much like Barry Trotz, in developing a team from the defense out.
Babcock has a way of keeping the team in the same mind-set and that translates to an almost telepathic style of play where every Red Wing knows where his quick outs and defensive fail-safes are at all times. Normally, a team like the Red Wings would love to jump out to an early lead, but the way the Predators have been battling back to win games, coughing up the first goal might not affect Detroit as much as it would other teams.
For the Predators to win: Work from the Captain and Alternate Captain forward. Suter and Weber (who may or may not be in tonight) both had a shaky game against Dallas along with Pekka Rinne. Hopefully the holiday break swept those thoughts out of their heads and they can focus on shutting down the high-octane offense of the Red Wings.
It has been rumored that Klein is still out with the flu and that Weber may not be ready to go tonight. If this turns out to be true, the Predators may have to call up another defenseman to fill out the lineup…maybe Ryan Ellis? The forwards are showing signs of life except for one exception: Craig Smith. Smith needs to break through for a goal as he has been goal-less since two games before missing the wide open net against Toronto. Look for Tootoo to have a big game as he loves to get under the Red Wings skin, especially Bertuzzi.
If you like what I have listed out here or if you have any questions/comments/concerns, feel free to let me know on Twitter…@Preducated
Stay HardCore, friends