The Nashville Predators take on the Detroit Red Wings this evening, and while the Predators aren't yet behind the eight ball, it might be fair to say that tonight marks the season's most important game to date. The Wings now sit just two points behind Nashville (stupid loser point) and can obviously eliminate that gap with a win tonight. The Preds are getting close to being on the outside looking in, and will need a strong team effort tonight without Marcel Goc, Wade Belak, and possibly Joel Ward.
Continue after the jump where tonight's game is broken down and I finally designate Jason Arnott as "cold"...
Nashville coming in
Moving on, nothing to see here.
Detroit coming in
The Red Wings are also in a bit of a slump, going 1-3 in their last 4. Since we last saw them, they've been giving a fair chunk of starts in goal to youngster Jimmy Howard. This is a team that seems to personify the phrase "better than their record." Anybody that boasts Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Brian Rafalski is certainly a team to be feared, and tonight will be no different. The Red Wings still boast a potent power play, so the lackluster penalty kill of the Preds' will need to step up tonight. Tomas Holmstrom and Johan Franzen remain out for Detroit. Check out Winging It In Motown for everything Wings related.
He's not leaving me much choice:
|2009 - Patric Hornqvist||51||21||12||33||12||26||6||0||6||0||170||12.4|
In Hockeytown, Pavel Datsyuk is coming off a two goal performance against the Wild:
|2009 - Pavel Datsyuk||51||14||27||41||13||12||5||0||1||0||130||10.8|
Sorry, but I've got to see more out of our captain. As I tweeted yesterday, I KNOW he's capable of it, and you do too, if you saw his late season explosion last year.
|2009 - Jason Arnott||41||12||16||28||5||18||4||0||1||0||138||8.7|
For the Wings, I again direct you to the goaltender position...
The Guys in Goal
For the Preds, Tom Callahan reports via Twitter that Dan Ellis gets the nod.
|2009 - Dan Ellis||24||1297||11||10||56||2.59||634||578||.912||1|
For Detroit, Winging it in Motown says it'll be youngster Jimmy Howard.
|2009 - Jimmy Howard||35||2057||18||11||79||2.30||1039||960||.924||1|
For the Predators, with the recall of Andreas Thuresson and the injuries, I expect things to look like this:
For Detroit, WIIM provided these:
Um, will a blank stare suffice for this space? No? OK, then, if I have to choose, I see an angry Detroit team overcoming a depleted Predator squad either late or in overtime. The Predators missed Joel Ward and Marcel Goc more than one might think against Columbus, and if they both miss tonight's game, it'll be an even bigger factor. Detroit 2, Predators 1.