Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings Preview: HBO in the house

Frederick Breedon

The Nashville Predators' greatest rivalry was sacrificed on the alter of divisional realignment when the Detroit Red Wings moved to the Eastern Conference, but the anticipation will still be sky-high as the Preds welcome in their old foes for their only Bridgestone Arena visit this season.

The Stats

Detroit Red Wings Nashville Predators
Record 18-13-9 18th 17-18-4 21st
GF/Game 2.55 18th 2.28 27th
GA/Game 2.62 13th 2.87 23rd
5-on-5 Close SF/60 28.5 18th 29.1 16th
5-on-5 Close SA/60 28.2 12th 28.3 13th
Fenwick Close 51.40 12th 49.00 18th
5-on-5 Close Save % .930 9th .909 26th
5-on-4 GF/60 6.2 15th 7.0 8th
# of PP's/Gm 3.33 17th 3.18 21st
4-on-5 GA/60 5.4 9th 6.6 19th
# of PK's/Gm 3.73 27th 3.23 14th

Detroit Red Wings

Tonight's game serves as a tune-up for the Red Wings, who are looking forward to the Winter Classic on New Year's Day at Michigan Stadium against the Toronto Maple Leafs. That means that HBO's "24/7" crew will be in the house tonight, chronicling Detroit's journey the biggest regular season game on the NHL schedule this year.

The Red Wings are still a decent team, but a host of injuries has decimated the lineup, as five key players are on Injured Reserve currently (Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm, Jimmy Howard and Stephen Weiss). After a six-game losing streak, Detroit was won three out of its last four, and despite the lack of depth due to injury it appears that Nashville will still have to contend with the dynamic duo of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, who are capable of making game-breaking plays on every shift.

It's possible that Howard & Helm could return to action tonight, so stay tuned for lineup updates later today. If they do play, it will be interesting to see how much rust each needs to shake off.

Nashville Predators

Can the Predators build on Saturday night's dramatic victory over Los Angeles? That's the key question heading into tonight's game, after Mike Fisher's valiant efforts turned the tide late in the 3rd period against the Kings. Given Marek Mazanec's performance in that game, one would expect that he'll probably get the start tonight, but stayed for updates later today following the morning skate.

If you're looking for other reasons for confidence, recall that back in November, Mazanec earned his first NHL shutout against the Wings in a 2-0 win. Will the good vibes prove enough to carry the Preds to victory tonight? If you won't be there, tune into FS-TN at 7:00 and let's find out...

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