In the first meeting of the season between the Red Wings and the Predators, Nashville finds itself in its usual position in the Western Conference standing behind their bitter rivals. With Detroit coming off a shootout win over the streaking Boston Bruins; will the Red Wings have enough in the tank to push around the Predators?
The Predators come into this game at Joe Louis Arena on a bit of a skid going 0-2-1 in their last three games. The offense is being led by none other than Jordin Tootoo who has two multi-point games out of the last three. Can the scrappy Inuit and the rest of the Predators start to turn this streak the other way?
Last Year’s Series: 4-2-0 (2-1-0 Home, 2-1-0 Away)
Last Season’s Video Recaps:
Game 1 – October 30, 2010:
Game 2 – December 8, 2010:
Game 3 – February 5, 2011:
Game 4 –February 9, 2011:
Game 5 – March 19, 2011:
Game 6 – April 2, 2011:
Looking at the Red Wings: Detroit is starting to catch fire and their steady ascent up the Conference ladder is proof. They boast many All-Star caliber players but have a couple that went unrecognized by the balloting committee:
Johan Franzen (10G, 12A)
Jimmy Howard (12W, 1.91 GAA, .929 SV%, 3 Shutouts)
The Red Wings are perennially a dangerous team, especially at the Joe where they enjoy an 8-2-1 record on the season.
Looking at the Predators: Nashville is on a rough stretch right now and the extended road trip might be what the doctor ordered to build some chemistry into a Predators lineup that has an abundance of healthy forwards; something Nashville is not accustomed to having.
Aside from the huge gaffe that leads to the game-winning goal in Wednesday’s tilt against the Wild and the shooting gallery from Edmonton on Tuesday, Pekka Rinne has been a rock. He has to continue, yet again, his stellar play or Nashville may find itself sliding further down in the standings while all the teams around them are getting starting to gel.
For the Red Wings to win: Simply play the smart, seamless hockey that has been the trademark of a well-coached squad. Allow for movement on the PP and take advantage of any opportunities the Predators may give on the man-advantage. Feed off the crowd and ride the bevy of talent on the roster to a win.
For the Predators to win: Start putting the puck on net. It’s a simple concept but one that their opponent will no doubt employ. The Red Wings will put an obscene amount of shots on goal and the Predators need to not only limit the time and space of Detroit but be aggressive with a barrage of shots on net.
Also, Troz needs to keep Craig Smith on the top line with Wilson and Hornqvist. They were clicking before Legwand got back and once Legwand entered into competition that’s where the 0-2-1 skid started. Another change would be to start Hillen with Blum on the second PP unit. Hillen is defensively responsible and can feed the forwards and Blum for scoring opportunities. With Bertuzzi and Kronwall on the ice, Nashville going on the man-advantage is almost a certainty; it’s time the Predators make the PP work for them instead of against them.
It’s time for Nashville to wake up out of the funk of the last three games and take it to their mortal enemy and start a trend in the opposite direction.
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