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Game 58: Nashville @ Detroit – The Motown Showdown


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Photo: Mark Humphrey / AP

Much has been typed and hyped about the impressive home win-streak the Red Wings have secured in the history books. 21 consecutive wins, the most in a single season surpassing the Flyers who previously held the record is a testament to how the Red Wings and their style of play in their own barn can truly dominate any other team in the NHL.

The Predators have the chance to squash this impressive record with just one win and a much needed two points in Motown.

Will the streak continue or will all good things (for the Red Wings) come to an end? Game time is 6:30 p.m. central.

This Year’s Series: 1-2-0 Home (1-1-0) Away (0-1-0)

Looking at the Red Wings: What else is there to say except…wow. The home winning streak not withstanding, they boast an impressive lineup from top to bottom and their coach has them all on the same page. Lead by the ageless Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen, the Red Wings have marched to the tippy top of the Western Conference and hold an 8 point lead over Nashville.

The Red Wings, however, will still be without the services of Jimmy Howard who has a broken finger and Henrik Zetterberg is day-to-day and will not play tonight. This is a tough loss but as was mentioned earlier, the Wings still have potent offensive talent to fill the gaps in their absence. Joey McDonald has been stellar winning the last four games allowing only seven goals.

Looking at the Predators: It was a gritty win and a fluky goal that brought the Predators the two points to distance themselves a little more from Chicago and keep Chicago’s losing streak intact. Ryan Ellis did an amazing job of simply firing the puck and it paid dividends with a one goal one assist night and the first start of the game.

Hornqvist was out of the line-up and didn’t make the trip with the Predators along with Brian McGrattan. Not having Hornqvist hurts the Predators down low where Patric wreaks havoc on opposing goaltenders.

For the Red Wings to win: Continue what has worked for the last 21 games at the Joe. It’s an easy formula when you have an old building full of memories and hungry fans cheering you on. The Red Wings have to take advantage of the size of the Predators blueline after Weber and Suter. Too many times Bouillon, Hillen and Ellis can get muscled off the puck and that leads to opposing scoring chances.

Joey McDonald has to continue his amped up play. Not having a solid netminder in Jimmy Howard available has put all the pressure square on McDonald, and he has responded well. If the Wings can limit chances going towards McDonald and press the Predators back lines and fire the usual 40-50 shots on Rinne, look for the Red Wings to come out victorious.

For the Predators to win: Play with a chip on their shoulder. The Predators have been a little too lackadaisical since the All-Star break and it has bit them early. The Red Wings are a team known for coming out of the gates fast and strong. The Predators need to push back even harder and try to suck the air out of the intimidating Joe Louis Arena with an early goal. Surviving the first period onslaught of Detroit is key to winning in Motown.

Pekka Rinne has to stand on his head tonight. Even with Zetterberg out of the lineup, the Red Wings have weapons on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd lines that can strike fast, namely Valterri Filppula who has been Pred-killer #1 this year in every match-up.

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