Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images
It was a heart-breaking affair when Nashville last played the Detroit Red Wings. A shot by Pavel Datsyuk, after undressing Ryan Suter in the zone with five seconds left, continued the record-breaking home win streak for Detroit and sent Predators fans reeling.
The Red Wings remain at the top of their game despite numerous injuries to some of their top talent. The laundry list includes: Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Howard, Bertuzzi, Ericsson, Kindl and Eaves.
The Predators still list Kevin Klein as out and judging by the practice lineups yesterday expect Wilson and Smith to be out of the lineup again tonight (healthy scratched). It’s a confirmed sellout tonight (third in a row) and the Predator faithful will be looking for that late season magic and electricity that only a Saturday night tilt against the Red Wings (a possible playoff preview) can provide. Puck drops at 7 P.M.
This Year’s Series: 1-3-0 Home: 1-1-0 Away: 0-2-0
Looking at the Red Wings: Despite not having an All-Star like Datsyuk and Lidstrom in the lineup and gritty role players like Bertuzzi, the Red Wings are still keeping pace: I.E. against the Kings last night.
The Wings only managed a paltry 15 SOG but 4 of them found the back of the net including 2 from Zetterberg and the game winner from Helm. Quick has not been the goalie lately that has sported great numbers in GAA and shutouts and the Wings took full advantage over that.
Looking at the Predators: As if answering our plea after Tuesday’s game against the Kings, the Predators came out against the Avalanche with a balanced effort of defense and offense and skated off with two very important points, a Goo-Goo goal (thank you Sergei) and Frosty’s for everyone in a 4-2 win.
Mike Fisher had a huge night with a goal and a +3 rating and Shea Weber lead the team in SOG. Rinne stood up to an onslaught in the third period but came through for the Predators allowing two goals on the night for the W. The Predators looked scrappy and with some extra curricular from Shane O’Brien, the Predators fought back physically and gave the Avalanche all they could handle. Especially Jordin Tootoo standing up to a much bigger Cody McLeod and holding his own although he technically lost the fight.
For the Red Wings to win: Use the weapons that are available, namely Franzen and Filppula. Filppula has been a huge thorn in the Predators side this year (think Alexandre Burrows) and has capitalized on numerous game-changing chances.
Hudler, Franzen and Zetterberg are, along with Filppula, leading the way in goals for the Wings. Any one of them can spell trouble given the slightest bit of daylight to the goal. If the Red Wings can open up the Predator defenses, it’ll be a long night for Nashville and especially Pekka Rinne.
For the Predators to win: Use the crowd!! It has been raucous the last few games with a sellout crowd every time cheering, standing and willing the Predators to victory. Tonight will be no exception with the most hated arch-rival of them all coming to town and within striking distance of the Predators to press for home ice advantage in the playoffs.
The lineup for Thursday’s game worked to a T. Inserting Yip, he provided the second goal of the game on a tip-in from Josi. Inserting Halischuk, he stuck to a hard forecheck causing the turnover that lead to the game-winning wrister from Sergei Kostitsyn.
If Pekka can stay sharp between the pipes and the defense can clear the zone much like they did against the Avalanche on Thursday, the forward lines can take it to the Red Wings and overwhelm them rolling four solid lines with offensive punch.
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Stay HardCore, friends