Predators Game Day Preview: Nashville @ Detroit

The Nashville Predators make their way into Detroit tonight for an early evening battle against rivals the Red Wings. The Preds are on a bit of a hot streak, having won 3 games in a row and 2 since returning from the Olympic break. New center Dustin Boyd is on track to join the team tonight, so it'll be interesting to see where, if it all thanks to such good play of late, he slots into the lineup.

Special Note: tonight's game won't be shown locally (again) but you should be able to find the FS Detroit feed on your television using the free preview of NHL Center Ice which is running this week.

Continue below for some game analysis and lineups...

Nashville coming in

The Predators are coming off a really solid victory against the Los Angeles Kings, where quite a few things came together. They scored twice even strength, once on the power play, and the penalty kill continued to look good despite one breakdown 4 on 3. Pekka Rinne was also sharp in net for the second consecutive night. Nashville is now a full five points ahead of the Red Wings, which is crucial going into tonight's contest. They're also three points back of sixth place Colorado.

Detroit coming in

The Wings are coming off a humiliation at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks, and Mike Babcock will probably have his squad ready to play at the Joe tonight. Detroit is finally getting its full set of players healthy, which is not a good sign for the teams ahead of them in the standings. I would venture to bet they make the playoffs, and scare all heck out of a team like Chicago or San Jose, if not knock them out completely. The Wings' power play continues to be a potent weapon with Nick Lidstrom and company, so it'll be important (duh!) to stay out of the box. As always, swing by Winging it in Motown for some quality Wings talk.

The Guys in Goal


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 27 1480 13 11 64 2.59 734 670 .913 1


For the Wings, Chris Osgood was terrible against Vancouver on Wednesday:


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 45 2641 22 14 103 2.34 1371 1268 .925 1

Projected Lineups

Nashville's from last night's game:

Forwards
Sullivan - Arnott -Dumont
Ward - Legwand -Smithson
Erat - Goc -Hornqvist
Wilson - O'Reilly - Tootoo
Boyd/Belak
Defense
Suter - Weber
Hamhuis - Klein
Bouillon -Grebeshkov

Take a look at Detroit's lineup and attempt to convince yourself they won't make the playoffs. You can't.

Forwards
Franzen - Datsyuk - Holmstrom
Bertuzzi - Zetterberg - Cleary
Williams - Filppula -Miller
Eaves - Helm -Draper
Defense
Lidstrom - Rafalski
Stuart - Kronwall
Ericsson - Lilja


Fearless Prediction

This team continues to gel in front of our eyes, and you have to like the way things are coming together. The victory over LA was one of the most balanced efforts we've seen out of the Preds in quite some time. The big guns got on the scoresheet (Arnott, Dumont), while the secondary players contributed as well (Goc, Smithson). If Nashville keeps it up, they'll be moving even faster up the standings. That said, I like the Preds to continue their good ways on the road with a streak-extending win over the Wings. Predators 3, Red Wings 1.

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