NHL on the Fly Preds-Wings Preview
The Detroit Red Wings (44-23-10) meet the Nashville Predators (42-26-10) in their final regular season meeting this year in a special 2 p.m. start time at the Bridgestone Arena in spite of all the Mule Day distractions.
Detroit is in third place in the Western Conference while the Predators are in sixth, four points back, and have a mathematical chance to catch the Wings for the Central Division crown but it would take a lot of help since the Wings have played one less game.
This is the sixth and final regular season meeting between the two teams this season. The Preds have won four out of five so far. The Preds fell to the Wings 5-2 on October 30th at Joe Louis Arena in a game that had the Preds basically playing with 17 skaters. On December 8, the Preds beat the Wings 3-2 in Detroit in a game featuring strong defense and goaltending.
In Nashville, on February 5, the Predators had a 3-0 win over the Wings in a solid performance at both ends of the ice. Four days later, the Preds won their final game of the year in Detroit 4-1. The two teams met two weeks ago at Bridgestone and Rinne and the rookies led the Preds to a 3-1 victory.
The Wings are coming off a 10-3 thrashing at the hands of the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night and appear to want to make a statement against the Predators who they have struggled with all season. The Wings were just 5-5-4 in March.
The Predators seem to be peaking at just the right time as they have won nine of their last eleven and were 10-3-2 during the month of March.
Both teams are struggling with injuries. Pavel Datsyuk and Chris Osgood are out and Mike Modano and G Jimmy Howard will return from injuries. Jordin Tootoo is questionable for the Predators after getting shaken up in Colorado. If he cant go, making out the line-up card will be easy for Barry Trotz, who only has 20 other players.
Jimmy Howard (34-15-5, 2.77, .908) will be in net for Detroit after missing a week with a sore shoulder. Howard is 3-3-1, 2.44, .920 in eight career games against Nashville.
Pekka Rinne (31-21-8, 2.10, .929) will go for the Predators. He is an outstanding 8-2-2, 1.98, .941 in his career agaiinst the Wings.
After today's game, the Predators will have only three games left beginning with Atlanta in Nashville on Tuesday and then Columbus here on Friday and at St. Louis in the finale on Saturday.
Other previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, Predatorial, Hockey Night in Nashville, The Tennessean, Marc Torrence, and Predators.com.
For previews from the Motor City, check out MLive, the Detroit Free Press, Winging It in Motown, and the Detroit News.
In Preds Nation...
Adrian Dater has a great story about Barry Trotz and the Predators at Sports Illustrated.
Josh Cooper says that he Preds have a big opportunity today.
Yesterday, we had stories on Pekka Rinne being the NHL Third Star of the Month and suggesting some candidates for the Predators' Masterton nominee.
Dirk Hoag gives a first look at some of his data mining that he has been working on. This is really unique stuff.
Here is Cellblock's aka Dexshow's pre-game smack talk for the Red Wings.
Mark Willoughby has his weekly "My View" at The View from 111.
The Milwaukee Admirals beat Houston 5-2 to extend their division lead to four points. Austin Watson and Chris Cahill made their pro debuts but did not dent the scorecard.
Around the NHL...
The New York Rangers chapter of PHWA decided not to vote on this year's NHL Awards in protest of Chris Botta getting his credentials revoked by the New York Islanders earlier this season.
Congrats to Jerome Iginla on his 1000th NHL point and to Peter Budaj for his 100th NHL win.
Vetern NHL referee, Bill McCreary will work his final game tonight when Buffalo plays at Washington.
Here is a post to bookmark that has all NHL free agents listed for the next two years.
Craig Custance has goalies to fear in the playoffs.
Zach Parise is set to return to the ice tonight against the Habs in his first game since October 30 when he suffered a knee injury.
RLD Hockey has one of the last editions of The Stretch Run. Ryan also wonders if this is San Jose's year.
The Sabres may be in trouble as it appears Ryan Miller may miss today's and tomorrow's games.
For what it's worth, T.J. Oshie is back and apologized to his teammates. Amazing that the Blues drilled Detroit 10-3 without him.
Remember Evgeni Nabokov? What will the Isles do with him?
I'm not into Rebe**a Black but this is good from Bloge Salming and Down Goes Brown.
Down Goes Brown has a list of April Fools pranks including one on Mike Fisher.
Odds and Ends...
Sad news from the planet Mars. NASA still has not heard from Spirit and they think that there may be bigger issues with the rover than power problems. It's twin, Opportunity, is still chugging alone. Oddly enough, I saw the launch of both in 2004.
More immediately, NASA is going to move the International Space Station because it has come withing six miles of some space junk.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass