Monday, November 21, 2005

GameDay: vs. Nashville (12-3-3, 27 Pts) 7:30 ET

Tonight is the first of eight games between these two clubs this season. The last time they played each other, the Wings finished up the first round of the playoffs with a 2-0 shutout win on April 17, 2004.

The Wings have lost a season-high four in a row, including three on a Western Canada road trip. On Sunday, they lost to St. Louis, 3-2 at home, a game they were supposed to win. Now, they will have to try to end their skid on a much tougher team. Apparently, the problem has been that the Wings haven't been skating a whole lot outside of games recently, due to a fairly packed schedule. This strategy was meant to help save energy across the board but especially for the older legs on the team. It's obviously not very easy to get in practice time on a Western Canada road trip that spanned less than a week and included three quick games. The team did skate for 30 minutes yesterday. (Freep, News)

The Predators began the season at a torrid 8-0-0 pace but lost their next five games (8-2-3). Since then, they have gone 4-1-0, winning four in a row before losing 4-2 to the Wild on Saturday in Minnesota. They are five points behind the Wings in the standings but have played four fewer games (18) and stand a real chance of taking the division lead if the Wings' problems persist. This is not the Predators team of a few years ago or even the team of 2003-2004. In a league that is supposed to have parity across the board, these guys have a very real chance of going deep into the playoffs, if not all the way.

Manny Legace should get the start for the Wings. Tomas Vokoun will be in net for the Predators.

Jason Woolley will sit out another game with a re-aggravated groin injury.

The Wings have to come to play tonight or else they'll end up embarrassed on home ice. They have zero momentum going into this game and will need to show a lot of energy to keep up with the young Predators team. This game should be a good one and will be if the Wings play their "A" game. I expect the Preds to be playing theirs.


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