Tonight is the 7th of eight games between these two Central Division rivals. The season series is tied 3-3, with the Wings winning January 6th (3-1
), February 8th (6-0) and February 9th (3-2). The Predators won two in a row in Detroit on January 23rd (3-2
) and 24th (2-1 OT
) and won the most recent game, 3-2
in a shootout last week. This game was added to this week's schedule to make up for the home game Nashville lost when the January 23rd matchup was switched from Nashville to Detroit to make up for the canceled November 21st game
The Wings are coming off a strong 4-1 win in St. Louis on Monday night. They basically dominated the entire game and held the Blues, who came to play as well, at arm's length, nearly getting the shutout but failing in the final minute. It was a game in contrast to their 5-4 shootout loss to Columbus on Saturday, where their effort was only sustained through a little over two periods instead of all three. They blew a three-goal lead in all of seven minutes in the third and though they forced overtime, were unable to recover enough to pull off the win. It was their second loss in 10 games, both of which came in shootouts.
Detroit is entering a stretch in which they will play four games in five days. Three of those games are on the road (tonight, Minnesota on Sunday, and Calgary on Monday) but one will be at home (Chicago tomorrow night). This will be a real test of their stamina, especially given who they're playing. The Calgary game could be a rough one.
I expect Manny Legace will start tonight.
The Predators have lost three straight since beating the Wings last Tuesday. All three losses came on the road to Pacific Division teams (Anaheim, LA, and Phoenix), no doubt causing Preds fans to feel relieved they aren't likely to face the Ducks or Kings in the first round. They allowed 17 goals over that stretch and have their goalie criticizing them in the media
as a result.
The Tennessean reports
that the Preds are looking to get back in the saddle with tonight's game, after generating some talk about their current slide. They're ready for another go at the playoffs and this time there's a good chance they'll have home ice advantage.
Tomas Vokoun will get the start tonight.
The Wings are undefeated in Nashville so far this year but that doesn't mean anything. The Preds need to get themselves back on track and you can bet they see tonight is as good a time as any for a start. Any lax play on Detroit's part will be pounced on by Nashville and so they'll need to play a full game. Should be a good one, folks.