Nashville Predators @ Detroit Red Wings: Game Day Preview


6:30 PM CST | 102.9 FM | FS-TN (HD)

Ah, Detroit. Our old friends welcome the Nashville Predators back into Joe Louis Arena tonight, and they've only gotten better since the last time the two teams were acquainted. The Predators continually use the Red Wings as a sort of measuring stick, and each game, while not always evenly matched, is always entertaining.

There's no reason to expect any different tonight, as Detroit is fighting off a horde of challengers for the West's top slot, and the Predators are trying to stay with the playoff pack. Follow after the jump for more.

Lineups

Nashville

In two games without Pekka Rinne, Anders The Giant has done more than his share, particularly against Atlanta, when he stopped 34 of 37 shots.


Anders Lindback

#39 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-6

205

May 03, 1988

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Anders Lindback 10 509 4 1 23 2.71 273 250 .916 0

The Predators remain without Rinne and Matthew Lombardi, but it sounds as if David Legwand will make his return tonight, which would be a huge shot in the arm for Nashville's depth. I would assume Nick Spaling is the odd man out, but hold everything - could J.P. Dumont be in for a healthy scratch?

Forwards
Sullivan (A) - O'Reilly - Wilson
Tootoo - Spaling - Hornqvist
Kostitsyn - Goc - Erat
Smithson - Legwand - Ward
Defense
 Suter (A) - Weber (C)
Klein - Bouillon
Franson - O'Brien

Detroit

Jimmy Howard hasn't been as good as he was last season for the Wings, but he's certainly a better option than, say, Chris Osgood.


Jimmy Howard

#35 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings

6-0

210

Mar 26, 1984

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Jimmy Howard 20 1192 15 3 50 2.52 593 543 .916 2

Detroit is missing Mike Modano, but still boasts some of the best depth you'll find in the NHL.

Forwards
Zetterberg (A) - Datsyuk (A) - Holmstrom
Bertuzzi - Filppula - Franzen
Hudler - Abdelkader - Cleary
Miller - Helm - Eaves
Defense
 Stuart - Lidstrom (C)
Rafalski - Ericsson
Salei - Kronwall

Thoughts

  • Sergei Kostitsyn really seems to be rounding into form nicely. Part of it may well be good chemistry with Marcel Goc and Martin Erat, but you can tell he's doing the little things better, and its leading to success on the box score. He's got a four game point streak going, and is being trusted in all game situations - penalty kill, even strength, and the power play.
  • I may or may not have said that the Red Wings would fall flat on their faces this year, for a litany of reasons...but I'd like to retract that, please. Not only are they atop the Western Conference, but they're sitting in the top ten of the league on the power play, penalty kill, goals per game, goals against per game, and shots per game. Put simply - they're good. Again. Drat.
  • Nashville got run out of the building in their first meeting against Detroit this year, a 5-2 loss. On that night, however, they were missing not only Lombardi, but also Jordin Tootoo, Ryan Suter, Francis Bouillon, and Marcel Goc. With a more well-rounded and healthy lineup, the hope is that the Predators will be able to keep up with their rivals a little bit easier this time.
  • The pending return of David Legwand is important, not only for his versatility, but the impact it has on the entire lineup - particularly Patric Hornqvist and J.P. Dumont. With only two offensive-minded centers healthy (and as good as he's been, calling Goc offensive-minded is a stretch), Hornqvist and Dumont have lately been playing with Nick Spaling, which has clearly hurt both players' production. A healthy Legwand bumps Goc down a spot, and gives Nashville three threatening lines as opposed to two.
  • Detroit is fresh off getting spanked by San Jose, which is always insulting. I can't imagine they were too happy, and as such, I certainly don't expect them to come out flat at home two games in a row. The Predators are very likely to get hit in the mouth, and will need to come prepared to get up off the mat.
  • The Preds have earned at least a point in five consecutive games, going 3-0-2, but it doesn't really seem like it, does it? A demoralizing overtime loss will do that to you, especially when it was a game Nashville had no excuse not to win. An effort such as Monday's will yield a proper beating, but a full sixty minutes of Predators hockey tonight will very likely result in two points gained. Let's hope the right team shows up this evening.
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