Preview #55: Predators Try To Bounce Back Against Wings

By Amanda DiPaolo

Season Records

Nashville Predators 28-19-7
Detroit Red Wings 32-15-6

Holmstrom expected back in the lineup tonight against Nashville

The Nashville Predators try to get back on track Wednesday night when they play the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. On Monday night, Nashville was blanked 4-0 by the Oilers, giving Edmonton just their 16th win of the season. The Red Wings also last played on Monday night edging the New York Rangers 3-2. Detroit is on a one-game win streak. Nashville has lost one game but before beating Detroit on Saturday night, the Predators were losers of four straight contests.

Nashville will be looking to avoid another losing streak when they hit the ice Wednesday night. In the series season between the two clubs, Nashville leads 2-1. The Predators shut out Detroit last Saturday night by a 3-0 score at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won in Detroit on December 8th by a 3-2 score. It was only the fifth time the Predators won in regulation at Joe Louis Arena. Nashville visited Detroit on October 30th but lost 5-2.

Nashville has a 10-20-7 record at Joe Louis Arena but 9 of their 10 wins have come in the last six seasons. Between 1998-2003, Nashville went 1-10-3 in Detroit and has since turned that around to 9-10-4 since 2003-04.

Often times the key to winning a game is winning special teams. Detroit had five power play opportunities Saturday night but Nashville was able to kill them all off. Furthermore, Nashville’s second goal was scored shorthanded by Sergei Kostitsyn. The Predators have killed off 13 of 14 man-advantage opportunities Detroit has had against Nashville this season.

Injuries

The Predators list of injured players has remained pretty consistent as of late. Matthew Lombardi remains out with a concussion. Cal O’Reilly has a broken leg and is out indefinitely. Francis Bouillon has a concussion. Marek Svatos had arthroscopic knee surgery and Jordin Tootoo, out since just after Christmas, entered the NHLPA Substance Abuse Program. Tootoo has been cleared to practice with the team but has not been cleared to travel or to play.

After missing 18 games with a groin injury, Steve Sullivan returned to the lineup on Saturday night against the Red Wings. Sullivan has been playing on a line with JP Dumont and Nick Spaling.

Detroit’s list of injuries has been revised since Saturday’s game preview. Mike Modano remains out after having wrist surgery. Brad Stewart is out after having surgery on his jaw, and Chris Osgood is out due to a sports hernia.

Back in the lineup, however, is Pavel Datsyuk, who scored in his first game back Monday night against the Rangers. According to The Detroit News, Tomas Holmstrom returns to the lineup after having broken his hand in mid-January in a game against Columbus.

Since the start of Saturday’s game, two new injuries have plagued the Red Wings. Jan Mursak is questionable for Wednesday’s game, according to TSN, after a Shea Weber slap shot hit him in the foot. He is listed as having a toe injury. Valtteri Filppula is out with a left-knee injury sustained Monday night against the Rangers.

Players to watch

Detroit: Pavel Datsyuk—The left winger has 54 points in 51 games against the Predators.

Nashville: Jerred Smithson and Joel Ward—With David Legwand on a line expected to produce offense with Colin Wilson and Patric Hornqvist, defending the likes of Datsyuk will fall even more squarely on the shoulders of Smithson and Ward. The best way to keep Datsyuk and Zetterberg off the score sheet is to keep them playing defense.

After Wednesday night’s contest, the two teams don’t meet up again until late March when Detroit visits Nashville two more times on March 19th and April 2nd. The Predators return home to take on Colorado on Saturday night. . It is expected that by the weekend, Peter Forsberg will make his return to the Avs complete. You do not want to miss Forsberg’s return to Bridgestone Arena. Game time is 7pm.

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