Gameday: Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings, 4/25/13

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

at DETROIT RED WINGS

April 25th, 2013
Joe Louis Arena
Detroit, Michigan
6:30 p.m. CDT
TV: FOX Sports Tennessee
Detroit leads season series 2-1

Tonight marks the final time the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings will face each other as Central Division rivals. Detroit is playing to make the playoffs; Nashville is playing because the schedule requires it.

DETROIT RED WINGS

(22-16-8, 3rd in Central)

A win over the Los Angeles Kings last night has the Red Wings in the eighth spot in the Western Conference, clinging to playoff hopes with two games left on the schedule. It’s been 22 years since the Red Wings missed the playoffs, and you know Henrik Zetterberg doesn’t want to be the captain who fails the Detroit faithful.

Key players

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Minnesota Wild

It’s been another productive season for Datsyuk and Zetterberg. (PHOTO: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Henrik Zetterberg (9G-34A) is not only the team’s captain; he’s also tied for its lead in scoring. His point-per-game pace has matched his point total from his second NHL season. In other words, this guy’s good.

Pavel Datsyuk (14G-29A), whose contract is up after next season and who has spoken of returning to Russia, has never missed the playoffs during his career with the Red Wings.

Others to watch

Jimmy Howard (19-13-7, 2.19 GAA, .922 SV%) has picked up points for the Red Wings in six of his last seven starts. Only three of those have been wins, but two of them have come via shutouts.

NASHVILLE PREDATORS

(16-21-9, 5th in Central)

Nashville broke an eight-game losing streak last game out against the Calgary Flames. Day late, dollar short, etc. etc.

Players to watch

NHL: Phoenix Coyotes at Nashville Predators

Better late than never for Mike Fisher. (PHOTO: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports)

Mike Fisher (9G-10A) was on a roll before he was injured earlier this month, having posted points in eight consecutive games at the end of March before injuring his hand while blocking a shot. He returns to the lineup tonight for the first time since April 6th.

Filip Forsberg has been sent down to the Milwaukee Admirals to help them in the Calder Cup Playoffs. Replacing him on the roster is Joonas Rask, younger brother of Boston goalie Tuukka Rask. This will mark the first NHL game for the younger Rask, who is described by the Preds as a “defensive and faceoff specialist.”

Bottom line

If the Nashville Predators win this game, they put a dent in Detroit’s playoff chances. If they lose, their chances of moving up in Monday’s NHL Draft Lottery improve. Sounds like a win-win from here – and that’s something that’s been in very short supply this year for Preds fans.

Topics: Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators

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