Detroit Red Wings 44-23-10
Nashville Predators 42-26-10
The last time the Detroit Red Wings played they lost, 10-3 to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night. Now, rested, the Wings take to the ice for the first time since the loss against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. With the Predators win on Thursday night against the Avalanche, only four points separate Detroit and Nashville for the Central Division lead.
A win by the Predators Saturday night would bring Nashville within two points of tying Detroit and in prime position to take their first Central Division title.
The Detroit News has reported that Jimmy Howard is set to return Saturday night after missing a couple of games with a sore shoulder. Howard is 0-3-0 against the Predators this season with a 3.66 goals against average. Nashville has won the last four games against the Red Wings. The first meeting of the season saw the Red Wings win by a 5-2 score on October 30th. Chris Osgood was in goal for Detroit.
Pekka Rinne is expected in goal for the Predators. Rinne, named the NHL’s third star of the month on Friday, is 8-2-2 in his career against Detroit with a 1.98 goals against average.
Being recognized League-wide for Rinne’s March performance should be no surprise. The Predators netminder went 9-3-2 in March, had a goals against average of 1.91 and a save percentage of .936 while adding two shutouts. The Predators started the month out of the Western Conference’s top 8, but ended March tied for fifth place with the Los Angeles Kings.
Pavel Datsyuk is still out of the lineup and is not expected to play on Saturday though he has started skating. Datsyuk is listed as having a lower-body injury. According to TSN, Mike Modano is probable for Saturday afternoon. Modano was out of the lineup with a groin injury.
Besides the players on injured reserve, including Matthew Lombardi, Steve Sullivan, Cal O’Reilly, Marcel Goc and Francis Bouillon, Jordin Tootoo might not play Saturday afternoon and is listed as questionable. The Tennessean reported that after being leveled by John-Michael Liles Thursday in Colorado, Tootoo has a neck/back issue.
A few Predators to keep an eye on include Sergei Kostitsyn, Patric Hornqvist, and Joel Ward. Ward and Hornqvist are each looking for their 100th point of their respective careers. Kostitsyn is on an 8-game point scoring streak. That ties a career high which Kostitsyn reached in December.
Don’t forget that playoff tickets go on sale Saturday morning at the box office. Pick up your tickets before the Detroit game. Don’t let the visiting team’s fans fill up your arena!
Photo Credit: Getty Images
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