A sellout crowd at the Sommet Center is expected as the Red Army comes into Nashville on the heels of a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings last night. The Wings will be without Marian Hossa tonight, who has a stiff neck (I hear he's injured, too).
Questions to be answered: (1) Will Martin Erat play, after tweaking his groin Thursday night? (2) Can the Predators' penalty kill bounce back after getting humiliated in Detroit on Feb. 18? (3) Can Nashville capitalize on the power play at home, against the 28th-ranked Red Wing PK?
Red Wings coming in: Detroit has steamrolled the league in the month of February, posting a 10-2-1 record. They've also scored 53 goals over that stretch, for a 4.08 GF average that's a nice jump up from their already-league-leading 3.68 for the season.
Predators coming in: Their play since the All-Star break (10-5-1) has Nashville back in the thick of the playoff hunt, to the point where David Poile is openly talking about acquiring assets at the trading deadline, rather than selling.
Red Wings to watch: Ty Conklin will be the likely starter in goal, as Chris Osgood got the win last night vs. L.A. The Wings are still trying to figure out who will be their main goalie during the playoffs. Kirk Maltby just played his 1000th NHL game, and as far as hot offensive players go, when your team is averaging more than 4 goals a game, you might as well just rattle off half the roster.
Preds to watch: Shea Weber is scoring again, with two goals and an assist in the last three games. The Big Four (Jason Arnott, J.P. Dumont, David Legwand, and Martin Erat) have combined for 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) in the last two games, and Steve Sullivan has 5 points (4 goals, 1 assist) in his last five.
Will the resurgent Predators offense of the last two games keep the momentum rolling against a high-flying, but defensively vulnerable Detroit squad that's playing on consecutive nights? Stay tuned for the Game Thread to be posted here later today, and since I won't be down at the Sommet Center tonight, join me in the comments...