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Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings Preview: A Farewell to (8) Arms

The Detroit Red Wings make their last visit to Smashville as division rivals of the Predators, as realignment is set to reshape the NHL landscape next season. Your question of the day, to be discussed in the comments below: what's your highlight moment in the Predators/Red Wings rivalry?

Filip Forsberg will make his NHL debut, wearing #9 for Nashville.
Filip Forsberg will make his NHL debut, wearing #9 for Nashville.
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Stats

Detroit Red Wings Nashville Predators
Record 19-15-7 16th 15-19-8 24th
GF/Game 2.46 21st 2.29 29th
GA/Game 2.51 13th 2.60 17th
5-on-5 SF/60 29.0 14th 25.1 29th
5-on-5 SA/60 28.6 15th 26.8 6th
Fenwick Close 51.75 11th 45.97 25th
5-on-5 Save % .926 9th .919 16th
5-on-4 GF/60 6.3 13th 6.2 15th
# of PP's/Gm 3.85 3rd 2.97 26th
4-on-5 GA/60 6.9 20th 7.6 25th
# of PK's/Gm 3.46 18th 2.95 2nd

The Red Wings are no longer the dominating puck possession team they have been in the past, but they still keep their heads above water. Solid goaltending and a tendency to draw more penalties than they take give them a number of ways to beat you.

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit is in the unfamiliar position of having to battle just in order to make the playoffs this season, currently standing 9th right behind Dallas due to a tiebreaker. They haven't exactly been charging down the stretch, either, going just 2-4-2 in their last eight games. Today's tilt is the second of a four-game road trip which takes them to Calgary & Vancouver next, before returning to Joe Louis Arena for three of their last four games.

Leading the way, as always, is one of the most gifted players in the world:

Pavel Datsyuk

#13 / Center / Detroit Red Wings



Jul 20, 1978

2012 - Pavel Datsyuk 40 13 26 39 +13 14 7 0 6 87 14.9

You might remember this little ditty that he pulled off the last time Datsyuk & the Wings came to Bridgestone Arena, back on February 19th:

Nashville Predators

In what seems like the most un-Predators-like thing ever, it sounds like Filip Forsberg will play his first NHL game today. It's bizarre for the Preds to resort to a publicity stunt like this, such as putting his jersey put on sale at the arena pro shop before he even came over to North America. Yes, it adds some pep to a meaningless game, but let's not forget that today is a deadline for season ticket renewals, so hey, at least folks are getting a sneak peek at what they'll be paying for.

You might ask "if it's a meaningless game, where's the harm in playing him?"

First of all, as Jason noted in today's Dump & Chase, there's the matter of fan expectations. Forsberg is still a kid, making the jump from Sweden's 2nd-tier league right to the NHL, playing on a smaller rink against a team that needs a win desperately. In other words, he's being thrown straight into the deep end of the pool, the polar opposite of the development model that Nashville so famously espouses. Of course, the Preds have had another forward go down to injury (today it's Patric Hornqvist), so they'll need Forsberg to fill out a 20-man playing roster anyway.

He's also only had one morning skate (today's) to get on the ice and familiarize himself with some of his teammates, and let's hope at least that the coaching staff spends most of their time warning Forsberg to watch out for Niklas Kronwall and his wrecking-ball hits at the blueline.

Hockey at the NHL level is a dangerous game, so my only expectation for Forsberg tonight is that he makes it through in one piece. Anything more than that and I'll be ecstatic.

Remember that tonight's game has a special 6:30 p.m. start time... will I see you there?