Detroit Red Wings @ Nashville Predators preview: Saturday Night Special

If the Nashville Predators want to pass Detroit for 4th place in the Western Conference or make a run at the Central Division title, they'll need to get rolling with a win over the Red Wings tonight at Bridgestone Arena (7:00 p.m. Central on FS-TN). They'll catch the Red Wings somewhat shorthanded and coming off a game last night, so the opportunity is right there - can the Preds take advantage?

Let's find out after the jump...

Tonight is one of the hottest home games of the Predators' season! Check our partner TiqIQ for ticket deals!

Tale Of The Tape

Detroit (44-21-3) at Nashville (39-21-7)
DET Offense vs. NSH Defense NSH Offense vs. DET Defense
5-on-5
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
DET Offense 3.0 (1st) 32.1 (4th) 9.2 (2nd) 1.9 (2nd) 26.2 (3rd) 927 (4th) DET Defense
NSH Defense 2.3 (8th) 30.9 (27th) 926 (6th) 2.4 (12th) 26.7 (28th) 9.1 (4th) NSH Offense
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %
Special Teams
DET PP vs. NSH PK NSH PP vs. DET PK
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
DET 5-on-4 6.0 (15th) 50.6 (9th) 11.8 (16th) 6.4 (17th) 47.9 (11th) 866 (22nd) DET 4-on-5
NSH 4-on-5 6.6 (22nd) 53.8 (23rd) 877 (16th) 7.4 (2nd) 48.2 (16th) 15.3 (2nd) NSH 5-on-4
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %

Puck possession is the hallmark of Red Wings hockey, and their Goals For/Against numbers in 5-on-5 are the best in the NHL by a fair margin. The Preds will need to get that power play clicking again, after going 0-for-8 over the last five games.

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings are going through a rough patch with injuries, as it's expected that they'll be without Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Jimmy Howard, Todd Bertuzzi and Jakub Kindl. That didn't prevent them from pulling off a late-game comeback against the L.A. Kings last night, though:

If you're like me, you were ready to turn this game off with about 5 minutes left in the third period. Down 3-2 to the Los Angeles Kings, a solid defensive team with a great goalie with less than 6 minutes left in the game, the Wings appeared to be dead and buried. Detroit had around 10 shots on net at that point, and looked very disinterested throughout the entire game.

But despite the injuries, the lack of hustle, the abysmal power play, the Wings could still rely on Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula, currently one of the best 1-2 offensive punches in the NHL. Those two combined for 3 goals and 3 assists, feeding each other like they were newlyweds on their honeymoon. Darren Helm would score the game-winning goal with just over a minute left in the game, and the Wings found a way to win a game they had no business being in 4-3.

- Winging It In Motown

Even with all those key players missing, others have stepped into the gap, most notably Zetterberg, who boasts five goals over his last five games:


Henrik Zetterberg

#40 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings

5-11

195

Oct 09, 1980



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2011 - Henrik Zetterberg 68 18 40 58 +11 39 2 0 4 210 8.5

A recent 3-4-1 record has allowed the Preds to close the gap a bit in the standings, but some of those big names get back on the ice, Detroit is capable of ripping off a big winning streak. That's what makes tonight's contest such a ripe opportunity for Nashville.


Detroit Red Wings Last 5 Games

Los Angeles Fri 03/09 W 4 - 3
@ Philadelphia Tue 03/06 L 2 - 3
Chicago Sun 03/04 L 1 - 2
Minnesota Fri 03/02 W 6 - 0
@ Columbus Tue 02/28 W 5 - 2

Nashville Predators

The pre-game chatter these days has to do with who gets to play and watches from the suite, as 25-man roster gives Barry Trotz a variety of options for any given game. Will Colin Wilson get back in, or has he not responded to Trotz's message well enough yet? Kevin Klein is still out of action, so one more D will need to be scratched. Most recently that was Jack Hillen.

Are you wondering about a hot scorer to look out for tonight? Well, it's Carrie Underwood's birthday today, so, Mike Fisher, how about a goal for the Mrs.?


Mike Fisher

#12 / Center / Nashville Predators

6-1

208

Jun 05, 1980



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2011 - Mike Fisher 58 20 21 41 +11 31 5 0 6 131 15.3

So far this season, the Predators are 1-3-0 against Detroit, and will want to make a stand on home ice, given the increasing likelihood of a 1st-round playoff matchup with the Red Wings (62.8% chance currently according to SportsClubStats).

Expect an electric, playoff-like atmosphere tonight at Bridgestone Arena. Consider this a dress rehearsal for what we'll see in about a month.

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