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Predators vs. Red Wings Game Preview 2/11/21: The Little Things

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The Preds are hoping to win a game against a very bad team. Confidence levels, everyone?

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

So, the season isn’t going too well for the Nashville Predators.

They have not won a game in regulation since opening week; they’ve gotten taken to the cleaners repeatedly by good teams and lost to solid ones. The upcoming two games against the Detroit Red Wings are a chance for the team, and their fans, to feel good about watching again—but they’ll need to actually win to do it.

That might be tricky, with Mattias Ekholm joining Ryan Johansen on the injury list. Y’all, according to the lines in practice, we’re going to see first-line center Luke Kunin and a second defensive pairing of Dante Fabbro and Jarred Tinordi. At least Eeli Tolvanen, who was a bright spot in his last few games, looks to be returning to the lineup.

I’m not sure what there is to say about the Nashville Predators at this point that we haven’t said repeatedly this week. Something isn’t right. If we’re lucky, the injury-driven adversity might encourage players to step up and make an impact; if we’re unlucky, it’s going to be a long few months until the season ends.

The Red Wings have been a solid defensive team this year, though their offense has been lacking. This won’t be the spark the Predators need for their struggling goalscorers—the team has just three goals in their last three games—but at least none of the Red Wings’ three goalies have been having an outstanding season, with Calvin Pickard’s .905 sv% the best on the team.

Like the Predators, the Red Wings have struggled with special teams this season, though for the Red Wings it’s their penalty kill that’s subpar and their power play that’s atrocious. This could benefit the Preds, as a game or two without losing the special teams battle by a lot might help the 5v5 play as well. What will be an even bigger help (though to both teams) is that, unlike the Preds, the Red Wings tend to play a lower-penalty style of hockey in general; if the referees call it the Red Wings way instead of the Predators way that’s more time 5v5, where the Predators have the edge.

Dylan Larkin leads the Red Wings with nine points; Tyler Bertuzzi, the team’s leading goal-scorer (five goals), is on injured reserve. In his absence Larkin, Anthony Mantha, and Bobby Ryan share the team lead with four each.

Reasons to Watch

Look, the Preds might win, and right now that’s very exciting.

How to Watch

The game is at 7 PM Central and will be airing on FS-TN. You can also listen to the radio call on 102.5 The Game.