Friday, April 1, 2011

Preds vs. Red Wings: Central Divison Clash

When the Detroit Red Wings come to Nashville, there is usually no build up needed. Neither team likes the other one, and the fans feel the same way. The Wings have been Nashville's biggest rival since the day the Predators franchise was first established. Saturday afternoon's game at Bridgestone Arena is the biggest regular season game that Nashville and Detroit have ever played.

The Predators are just four points behind the Red Wings coming into Saturday afternoon's game. With a win, Nashville would be just two points off of the Central Division lead with three games remaining.

Detroit is coming off of being blown out of their own arena by a 10-3 score on Wednesday night by the St. Louis Blues. They're obviously going to be looking for a better effort against Nashville. Jimmy Howard will return to the lineup for Detroit, and it's possible that Pavel Datsyuk will return to the lineup as well. The Red Wings are a completely different team with Datsyuk than they are without him.

The Predators are coming off of a 3-2 victory against the Colorado Avalanche where they just managed to hang on for the victory. Mike Fisher currently has a three game point streak going into the game, and seems to be healthy again. Martin Erat has overtaken Shea Weber for the team lead in points with 48.

Nashville is looking to win five games in the regular season against Detroit for the first time in franchise history. The Predators have won four straight games versus the Red Wings this year, and have killed off 20 of 22 Red Wing power-plays on the year.

Only four games remain for the Predators on the season, so each game from here on out is important. The Preds have 94 points and sit in 6th place in the Western Conference. If the season ended today, the Predators would be playing the Red Wings in the 1st round of the playoffs. Saturday's game could be a possible preview of the hockey we're going to see in two weeks. As is always the case between these two teams, it's going to be one hell of a game in Smashville.