Nashville Predators 10-7-4
Detroit Red Wings 13-7-1
Saturday night the Predators open their season series against the Detroit Red Wings on the road at Joe Louis Arena. Last season, Nashville claimed the season series winning four of the six games. It was the second time in three years that the Predators won the season series.
While Chicago leads the Central Division in points, on Saturday night, Nashville and Detroit will fight to remain in contention of the division lead. Only three points separate the two clubs. With 27 points, Detroit trails Chicago by two points. Chicago and Detroit were both winners on Friday. The Blackhawks edged the Ducks 6-5, while Detroit snapped Boston’s 10-game winning streak with a 3-2 shootout win.
The Predators are coming off a pretty tough loss to the Western Conference leading Minnesota Wild. Going into the third period with a 1-0 lead, Nashville lost 3-2. The game winning goal was scored when Pekka Rinne left the net to play the puck, fell and could not recover before the Wild scored. This loss came one day after the Predators lost 6-2 to the Edmonton Oilers. Nashville’s last point came in an overtime loss to Columbus. It was the Blue Jackets fourth win of the season and first win at Bridgestone Arena since April, 2006.
Nashville needs to right their ship, and fast. The Predators are 5-3-2 in their last 10 contests and are losers of the last three games. After Detroit on Saturday, the Predators move on to Western Canada where they will take on the Oilers, a team that has already beaten them twice this season, the Vancouver Canucks — another team Nashville failed to beat earlier in the year, and the Calgary Flames.
Currently, the Predators sit outside the top 8 looking in, a position no team wants to be in at Thanksgiving–the point in the season used to judge which teams are looking good and which have faltered early in the season. But with such parity in the League, only 3 points separate 4th spot in the West from the 11th spot.
On Friday, Nashville recalled defenseman Roman Josi. It is possible Josi is recalled as the seventh man only, but it could also be the case that one half of Nashville’s final pairing will be scratched. Jack Hillen and Jon Blum are the likely candidates to take a seat. Blum and Josi were paired together in Milwaukee for most of last season.
Jordin Tootoo has found his offense. After going 20 games without scoring a goal, Tootoo has scored twice in the last two games for the Predators. Those performances mark the first-ever back-to-back multiple point games of his career, and on Tuesday Tootoo earned his 99th and 100th career points. For the season, Tootoo has 2 goals and 5 assists.
Photo credit: AP