The Nashville Predators' road to a fifth straight postseason berth will take them through Detroit twice. While the Predators humbled the Red Wings in the previous meeting, winning at Joe Louis Arena hasn't proved to be easy.
Looking to maintain its spot in a highly contested Western Conference race, Nashville will try for its second win in 13 trips to Detroit on Sunday.
The Predators (37-30-8) earned a point in their seventh straight game with Saturday's 4-3 overtime victory over visiting Los Angeles. After allowing the tying goal with 1:04 to play in regulation, Steve Sullivan gave Nashville the victory with a power-play goal at 3:41 of the extra session.
Nashville is in sole possession of seventh place in the West with 82 points.
"It's taxing our nerves, it's taxing our resiliency, and it's taxing our character a little bit lately," said Predators coach Barry Trotz, whose team is 4-0-3 in its last seven. "It has been a rough week. We have played three games in five nights, and they have all been emotionally draining in one way or another."
The Predators have seven games remaining, but two will be at Joe Louis, where they have one win in their last nine regular-season trips and lost three times in last season's first-round playoff defeat.
Nashville begins a three-game road trip Sunday and travels back to Detroit on April 9 before ending the regular season the next night in Minnesota.
However, the Predators routed the Red Wings 8-0 at home on Feb. 28, scoring five times in the first 10:48. Rookie Pekka Rinne stopped 30 shots to hand Detroit its first shutout of the season.
Nashville captain Jason Arnott had a hat trick in that game, but Arnott, who has a team-leading 27 goals, hasn't played since March 10 due to a concussion.
The Predators have taken consecutive victories without David Legwand, who is expected to miss a third straight game after getting hit in the face with a puck in practice on Wednesday. Legwand had scored 20 goals for second time in 10 seasons
Joel Ward has stepped in with five goals and an assist in the last six games, and Shea Weber has three goals and four assists in that time.
The Red Wings (49-17-9) failed to capitalize on a chance to take the Western Conference lead and make history at the start of a four-game homestand Friday night as the lowly New York Islanders beat Detroit 2-0.
"Early on we didn't play as well as we had to against a team that played loose, played with confidence," Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We didn't get skating until later in the game, and we were down 2-0 at the time."
The Red Wings, who haven't been shut out in consecutive games since Dec. 15-17, 2001, come into Sunday trying to clinch a share of their eighth straight Central Division title, and look to join Boston (1970-74) and Montreal (1975-79) as the only teams with four consecutive 50-win seasons.
Mike Babcock would become the first coach with four straight 50-win campaigns since Scotty Bowman did it with the Canadiens in 1979.
Datsyuk has two goals and four assists while Henrik Zetterberg has three and three in four games against Nashville this season. The Predators and Red Wings have split those games.
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