Monday, January 23, 2006

GameDay: vs. Nashville (29-12-6, 64 Pts) 7:30 ET

Tonight is the long-awaited make-up for the canceled November 21st Wings/Predators game. Because this game was originally meant to be in Nashville, a Predators home game was created for March 30th. These teams faced each other earlier this month and the Wings came out on top, playing one of their best games and winning 3-1 on January 6th. The Wings have won their last four, a stretch that includes wins over Philadelphia, the New York Rangers and Colorado, their most recent victory. They are 6-3-0 so far this month, which has the toughest schedule they've played so far this year. Their success so far this month is going a long way in dispelling criticisms that their being in the very weak Central Division has padded their schedule. They are leading the Western Conference with 67 points and are just one point behind Ottawa and Carolina for the league lead. Nashville is just three points behind the Wings now and this game, as well as tomorrow night's rematch, is very important. The Predators haven't had quite as much success recently, losing three of their last five and going 5-3-3 so far this month. They are coming off a feel-good 7-2 win over Columbus on Saturday but preceded that with a 4-3 shootout loss to New Jersey last Thursday. They have lost four straight games to Detroit, going back to the 2004 playoffs and including their only regulation loss against Central Division opponents this season (12-1-1). Manny Legace will be in net for the Wings tonight and Tomas Vokoun will start for Nashville. Henrik Zetterberg is questionable for tonight and is more likely to play tomorrow. The January 6th game was satisfying but expect a different game tonight. The Predators have an enormous advantage in starting out with a 1-goal lead and if the Wings can't even it up quickly, it will be a tough game. They can't afford to allow Nashville to enlarge their lead and will hopefully come out flying. They'll need to sustain it if they do, however, because the Predators know this is their chance to get ahead and they will want a little revenge for being embarrassed in front of their own fans on the 6th. They think they're going to come in and take away a win at the Joe but I think they'll find that won't be so easy. Abel to Yzerman's preview


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