Detroit Red Wings 21-12-1
Nashville Predators 18-13-4
The Detroit Red Wings make their second visit to Music City on Boxing Day. The Predators have played the Red Wings twice this season, splitting those contests with the home team winning each time.
Both teams are coming off of losses, but the Predators will be looking for their sixth consecutive win on home ice. Last Thursday, the Red Wings fell 3-2 to Calgary and on Friday, the Predators were doubled 6-3 by the Dallas Stars. The Predators are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games. Detroit sits at 5-5-0 in its last 10 games.
Since their inaugural season, the Predators have played on Boxing Day every year with the exception of the 2005-06 campaign and have a 6-5-0 record. The last time Nashville has won on December 26th came against Detroit when the Predators hosted the Red Wings, winning 3-2.
Nashville and Detroit are separated only by 3 points and are battling to remain in the top 8 positions in the Western Conference so fans in attendance at Bridgestone Arena should expect a playoff-like atmosphere, as is always the case when these two teams collide.
Captain Shea Weber leads the team in points with 29 (8 goals and 21 assists) and currently enjoys a five-game points streak, posting eight points (2 goals and 6 assists).
Weber’s current five-game points streak started on December 15th, the last time Detroit was in Nashville. Weber tied the game late in the third period and scored the game-winning goal to end the game in regulation for Nashville.
Continued offensive production from Weber will be required for continued success for the Predators. However, special teams will remain key.
The Predators have the second best power play in the League but rank near the bottom in terms of penalty kill. With a 22.5 per cent success rate on the man advantage, Nashville has never enjoyed such success on the power play. In Nashville’s last 17 games, its power play has converted 32.1 percent of the time going 18-for-56 on the man advantage.
Weber and Ryan Suter lead the team on the power play with 13 points each. Weber has 5 goals and 8 assists while Suter has 3 goals and 10 assists on the man advantage. David Legwand has power play markers in two consecutive games and has 4 goals and 8 assists on the power play so far this season for Nashville.
While the power play continues to find success, the penalty kill remains a weak spot for the Predators this season. Sitting 24th in the League, Nashville has an 80.3 success rate on the penalty kill. The Predators gave up four power play goals against Columbus last week, three on a major penalty called against Nashville in the first period. Against Dallas on Friday, the Predators were able to kill off all three penalties against the club.
Pekka Rinne is expected to start in goal for Nashville. Rinne will put his stellar 9-3-3 record against Detroit on the line against the Red Wings ace netminder Jimmy Howard. Rinne was pulled against Dallas after allowing three goals on three consecutive shots, but since the Predators scored three goals it was Anders Lindback who was assessed the loss.
Rinne also sports a 9-3-4 record at Bridgestone Arena this season.
The Red Wings lead the League in wins on home ice but are 8-10-0 on the road this season and have lost 5 of its last 7 games away from Joe Louis Arena.