TV (HD): FS-TN (Comcast 28/247, Dish Network 449/9519, DirecTV 644/644-1)
Radio: 104.5 "The Zone" (WGFX)
The mission from here on in is clear; as Al Davis would say, "just win, baby."
Questions to be answered: (1) Can the defense tighten up after a disappointing second period Tuesday against Chicago? In general, they've played well over the last few weeks. (2) Is Pekka Rinne capable of bringing a "steal the victory"-type of effort against the top offense in the NHL? (3) Can some of Nashville's lesser offensive players take advantage of what has often been shoddy Red Wings goaltending? They can't rely entirely on the Sully/Arnott/Dumont line for goals.
Predators coming in: Tuesday's home loss to Chicago has left the Preds two points behind St. Louis and Anaheim with just two games to play. Neither of those rivals play tonight, so the Preds can't wait for help; they have to put pressure on the Blues & Ducks themselves.
Red Wings coming in:It's all but certain that Detroit will be the #2 seed in the Western Conference (they'd have to win out and San Jose would have to lose out for them to get the top spot), so there's very little on the line for the Red Wings other than wanting to ensure the team is playing at a high level heading into the playoffs.
Predators to watch: Jason Arnott has been outstanding since his return, and with his 30th goal of the season Tuesday, stands just one away from the team record set by both Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya in 2005-6. With his 46th assist in that game, J.P. Dumont has set a new personal best on that front. Sully leads all Predators in scoring against Detroit this season, with 3 goals and 5 assists in 4 games.
Red Wings to watch: Pavel Datsyuk has a shot at his first 100-point season (currently with 96), and has 2 goals with 5 assists in his last 4 games.
Here's a look at the two teams in the main statistical categories, along with overall NHL rank:
That's an intimidating view, but Nashville is 3-2 against Detroit so far this season.
Next, let's see which players draw penalties, and which ones head to the box (data through April 5):
|Nashville||Penalties Drawn||Detroit||Penalties Drawn|
|Player||Draws||Fouls||Pen +/-||Player||Draws||Fouls||Pen +/-|
|Jordin Tootoo||50||45||+5||Henrik Zetterberg||37||17||+20|
|Martin Erat||25||24||+1||Pavel Datsyuk||30||9||+21|
|Ryan Jones||24||10||+14||Marian Hossa||29||24||+5|
|Dan Hamhuis||23||25||-2||Valtteri Filppula||29||16||+13|
|Vern Fiddler||22||13||+9||Mikael Samuelsson||24||24||0|
|Joel Ward||21||12||+9||Kirk Maltby||23||13||+10|
|Penalties Taken||Penalties Taken|
|Jordin Tootoo||50||45||+5||Marian Hossa||29||24||+5|
|Ryan Suter||18||36||-18||Mikael Samuelsson||24||24||0|
|Shea Weber||16||35||-19||Tomas Kopecky||21||23||-2|
|Greg de Vries||15||24||-9||Niklas Kronwall||10||23||-13|
|Dan Hamhuis||23||25||-2||Dan Cleary||20||22||-2|
|Martin Erat||25||24||+1||Andreas Lilja||11||22||-11|
Detroit has the 2nd-fewest PIM's in the NHL (behind Carolina), so don't expect much power play action from the Preds. Nashville has the 6th-fewest, and will need to maintain discipline to keep the top-notch Red Wings PP off the ice.
Helene St. James at the Detroit Free Press says the Detroit lines from the morning skate were as follows:
And as to the goaltenders, GoaliePost.com says that the likely matchup is Rinne vs. Osgood...
|2008 - Dan Ellis||35||1965||11||19||4||5||96||2.93||963||867||.900||3|
|2008 - Pekka Rinne||50||2876||28||14||4||6||110||2.29||1374||1264||.920||7|
|2008 - Ty Conklin||39||2186||25||10||2||3||91||2.50||1008||917||.910||6|
|2008 - Chris Osgood||44||2538||26||8||7||0||131||3.10||1160||1029||.887||2|