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Detroit Red Wings @ Nashville Predators Preview: Statement Time

It's entirely too early in the year to term tonight's game a "must win". I don't even think its fair to say that the Nashville Predators have their backs against the wall.

That said, the Preds have lost four games in a row, haven't scored more than two goals dating back to a shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers, and now "welcome" the Detroit Red Wings to Bridgestone Arena.

There is no legitimate excuse for not firing on all cylinders tonight against the Wings. Nashville has somehow managed to keep the division lead in sight, Steve Sullivan may make his return, and Detroit is going with journeyman Joey MacDonald in net after a 3-0 beating at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Tonight represents a significant opportunity to prove that the Predators can hang with the league's elite, after all. Each consecutive loss brings the Preds' rivals closer in the standings, and the chance at home ice advantage in the playoffs could soon slip away.

As with every Detroit/Nashville game, there are many angles to cover. Here's mine: just win.

Detroit Red Wings Nashville Predators
 GF/Game 3.35 2nd 2.56 25th
 GA/Game 2.88 17th 2.34 4th
 SF/Game 33.1 4th 28.6 25th
 SA/Game 29.7 11th 30.3 17th
 PP% 21.6 5th 13.8 28th
 # of PP's 190 11th 174 23rd
 PK% 81.6 17th 85.2 3rd
 # of PK's 179 9th 176 8th