The Detroit Red Wings are in Nashville tonight to play the Predators for the 7th time this season. The series is tied 3-3, with the Wings winning the November 7th (3-2 SO), December 10th (2-1), and March 9 (4-3) meetings. The Predators won November 22nd (3-2), February 12th (4-2) and March 15th (3-1). The 8th and final game between the two Central Division teams will be played on March 30th in Detroit.
Nashville is 4-5-0 in March. They began the month with a pair of wins, but went 1-1 over their next two. They then dropped three straight, beginning with the loss to Detroit on the 9th. Their March 15th win over the Wings cut that skid short, but they returned to losing on Tuesday with a loss to Washington.
The Predators are four point behind the 8th place team in the West, Colorado, but would need five to pass the Avs.
JP Dumont leads the team in goals with 28, but Jason Arnott is not far behind with 26. Alexander Radulov (24) and Martin Erat (22) also have cracked the 20-goal barrier.
The Tennessean lists David Legwand (foot), Steve Sullivan (back), Martin Gelinas (knee) and Jed Ortmeyer (knee) as out.
It looks like Dan Ellis is the expected starter.
The Wings improved to 6-2-0 in March with a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. I missed most of the game because I was watching the Grand Rapids Griffins lose 2-1 to the Toronto Marlies, but I made it back in time to see Henrik Zetterberg score the second of his three goals. From what I saw, the Wings looked pretty good in the third, but from what I read (here and here), it wasn't so pretty in the first and second.
The strong third was sparked by the reunion of Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, with the former first tying the game at one, then putting the Wings ahead a goal, and finally extending the lead. Hank's third goal came came 35 seconds after his second and prompted the usual shower of hats. And glasses, which were picked up by Chris Osgood. With the win, the Wings tied the season series at 3 apiece.
Because the San Jose Sharks beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in a shootout last night, the Wings still have only a five-point lead in the League.
Zetterberg's goals were his 37th, 38th, and 39th of the season, the team high. Pavel Datsyuk (28) and Johan Franzen (20) are the only two active Wings to have cracked 20 goals.
The Wings will be without 20-goal scorer Tomas Holmstrom (abdomin) for the 7th game.
Dan Cleary (broken jaw) has been out since being injured on February 9th. He's expected back soon however.
Kris Draper (groin) is unlikely to play tonight, though he could return Saturday.
Valtteri Filppula sat out against the Jackets with a sore groin (or is it a sore knee?) and is likely to sit again tonight. He had played a team-high 132 consecutive games prior to last night's game.
Dominik Hasek will be in net tonight for the Wings.
For more of the Wings' perspective, see Snapshots, Abel to Yzerman, HockeyTownTodd, Behind the Jersey, No Pun Intended, Red Wings Nation, yzerman is god, Detroit Hockey, LetsGoWings, Red Wings Brasil, BR Red Wings, and Winging It In Motown.
This is another key game for the Wings, who will be facing a highly-motivated and skilled Predators team that had last night off. They will need to have a better start than they had against the Jackets or they stand a good chance of finding themselves in a deep hole before long. This is their chance to exact some revenge for Saturday's loss to the Preds and if they can pick up where they left off in the third last night, they stand a good chance of pulling out a road win.