Predators Game Day Preview: Nashville @ Detroit

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.

(OK, quickly: 0-4 last eight days, including losses to the Blue Jackets and Maple Leafs. Poor goaltending,  poor power play.)

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.

Who's hot

He's not leaving me much choice:


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
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:


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2009 - Pavel Datsyuk 51 14 27 41 13 12 5 0 1 0 130 10.8

Who's not

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.


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
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.


Dan Ellis

#39 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-0

188

Jun 19, 1980

 

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
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.


Jimmy Howard

#35 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings

6-0

210

Mar 26, 1984

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2009 - Jimmy Howard 35 2057 18 11 79 2.30 1039 960 .924 1

Projected Lineups

For the Predators, with the recall of Andreas Thuresson and the injuries, I expect things to look like this:

Forwards
Sullivan - Arnott - Hornqvist
Smithson - Legwand - Erat
Jones - O'Reilly - Dumont
Tootoo - Spaling - Thuresson
Defense
Suter - Weber
Hamhuis - Klein
Bouillon - Franson

 

For Detroit, WIIM provided these:

Forwards
Zetterberg - Datsyuk - Cleary
Bertuzzi - Filppula - Williams
Draper - Helm - Eaves
Miller - Abdelkader - Maltby
Defense
Lidstrom - Rafalski
Ericsson - Kronwall
Lebda - Stuart

Fearless Prediction

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.

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