Nashville Predators vs. Detroit Red Wings Preview: Revenge Beckons

The Preds look to bounce back from Thursday's loss against the Red Wings today.

Welcome back to the non-nationally televised spotlight Smashville!

The Predators will take on the Detroit Red Wings (who?) in an afternoon matinee at the Bridge. The game against the Wild didn't end well. But you don't want to peak too early, right? Hopefully the Preds can right the ship against a solid Red Wings team before they head off the New York for some road games.

If you are going to the game this afternoon, stick around for the alumni game! Expected to suit up for the Predators will be Tomas Vokoun, Blake Geoffrion, Stu Grimson, Cliff Ronning, JP Dumont, Terry Crisp, and several others. They will take on a gaggle of Red Wings alumni including Kirk Maltby, Igor Larionov, and Jiri Fischer. If this game is like most alumni games, expect there to be smoke breaks every 5 minutes, rampant cheating from both sides, and heart-warming athletic displays from players desperate to show that they "still have it." Should be fun!

The Detroit Red Wings

Hey there... Long time no see! How've you been?

I love what you've done with your hair.

Remember the last time we hung out? A little over a month ago? Yeah, we remember too.

You were really rude to us.

Yeah, you were out with your guys and yeah, you'd had too much to drink. But... that's no excuse. It wasn't nice. Since then, you've pretty much had it made, going 9-4-2 in 15 games. You are sitting comfortably in 3rd in the Atlantic Division and could easily challenge either Montreal or Tampa for the top spot. You've got some incredible young players like Tomas Tatar, who leads your team with 24 goals. You have your old beau Pavel Datsyuk, who leads the team in points with 50. And we've seen the Facebook posts with you and Jimmy Howard out on the town... I can tell by his .917 save % this year that you two are getting along again.

But we've got young guys too. And a good goalie as well. And we don't let things go.

The Nashville Predators

Blackhawks on December 6th. Red Wings on January 17th. Ducks on February 5th. Wild on February 26th.

What do these games have in common? They were all stinkers, of course. Yet the Preds managed to get points (usually 2) in the games following the first three stinkers. Losing a game because you play poorly will happen... it's all about how you respond. As we say in the South, "if you fall off the gift horse while leading him to water, get back up and count his eggs."

As I was leaving the game Thursday, I heard an upset fan (wearing a crisp Forsberg jersey... seriously, I think it still had tags) make the remark, "We just can't beat the top teams! We beat the hell outta crappy teams like that Colorado team, but we just can't beat the good teams!" (Yes, he said "that Colorado team")

So, let's look:

Team Record Points Gained Points Possible
0-0-1 1 2
1-0-0 2 2
0-1-0 0 2
1-1-0 2 4
New York Rangers 1-0-0 2 2
New York Islanders 0-1-0 0 2
Pittsburgh 1-1-0 2 4
Washington 1-0-0 2 2
St. Louis 3-1-1 7 10
Chicago 1-1-2 4 8
Winnipeg 3-1-0 6 8
Anaheim 0-1-1 1 4
Vancouver 2-0-0 4 4
Los Angeles 2-0-0 4 4
Calgary 0-1-1 1 4
Overall 16-9-6 38 62
Win Pct 0.516

It sure seems like we are beating the top teams at a reasonable rate. As expected, our record against the lesser teams (like that Colorado one) is much better: 25-5-1. That's a sparkling .806 win percentage. But I will take an above .500 win percentage against the top 15 teams, especially if that means we can secure playoff seeding that guarantees these other top teams to knock each other out of the race before getting to us. If the playoffs started today, three of the following six teams would be knocked out in the first round: Anaheim, Winnipeg, St. Louis, Chicago, Vancouver, Los Angeles. The playoffs can be heartbreaking; a lot of good teams get sent home early.

It stinks losing some of these big match-ups. Especially when they are nationally televised. But it happens. And while anything can happen on a given night, in a best-of-7 series the Predators are as dangerous as any team in the league.

Reasons To Watch

  • It's Preds-Wings! I have yet to watch a boring Preds-Wings game. And while revenge over the Wings would be sweet, considering how the last game against Detroit turned out, it won't be easy.
  • Cody Franson needs to adjust to this lineup a bit quicker. He hasn't looked so hot... but give it another game or two. See if he gets going tonight.
  • I predicted a Mike Santorelli goal on Thursday and it didn't happen. Let's use that power for good: Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Tatar, and Pavel Datsyuk will all score today.

Pre-game Music

Because an 82 game season can sometimes be a... well.. you know.

The Important Details

2 pm start today! FSTN on the TV side, 102.5 The Game on the radio side.