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Predators hope to rebound, keep pace with Wings

by Dan Rosen /
PREDATORS (28-19-7) at RED WINGS (32-15-6)

TV --
FS-TN (HD), FS-D+ (HD)

Last 10 -- Predators 4-5-1; Red Wings 5-4-1

Season series -- This is the fourth of six meetings between the Central Division rivals this season. The Predators have won the last two meetings, including a 3-0 decision at Bridgestone Arena this past Saturday.

Big Story -- This is another opportunity for the Predators to right the ship. They thought they did that with a 3-0 win over Detroit on Saturday, but they followed with a 4-0 loss to Edmonton on Monday. Detroit rebounded from the loss to Nashville with a win against the Rangers on Monday. Pavel Datsyuk had a goal, an assist and three takeaways in his return after missing 19 games with a broken hand. The Wings are looking to further separate themselves from the Central Division pack. They hold a seven-point lead on the Predators.

Team Scope:

Predators --
They've lost five of their last six, but remain second in the Central Division because the teams below them (Chicago, St. Louis and Columbus) are struggling as well. Nashville has no excuses for its latest loss, a 4-0 setback against the Oilers. The Predators went 0-for-5 against the League's worst penalty-killing team. Pekka Rinne, who had given up two or fewer goals in 12 of his last 14 appearances, allowed four on 20 shots before he was pulled in the third period. This is Nashville's only road game between Feb. 5 and 19.

Red Wings -- Datsyuk said he was rusty and that he needs more games under his belt to feel like himself. Who's he kidding? He was a welcome addition to the Red Wings' lineup Monday, acting like his usual self by skating circles around everybody, sneak-attacking forwards from behind with his stick lift and swipe, scoring, passing, etc. You name it, Datsyuk can do it. There's a reason why the higher-ups in the Wings' organization believe he is the best player in the NHL. But the win against the Rangers did come at a price -- Valtteri Filppula tweaked his knee in the third period and has been ruled out of Wednesday's game by GM Ken Holland. However, Tomas Holmstrom could return against the Predators. He's missed eight games with a broken right hand.

Who's Hot -- Well, there's Datsyuk, of course. He had a goal, an assist and three takeaways Monday in his first game since Dec. 22. Goalie Jimmy Howard made 45 saves to beat the Rangers.

Injury Report -- Filppula is out for the Wings, but Holmstrom could return. Mike Modano (wrist), Brad Stuart (jaw) and Chris Osgood (groin) remain out. … Nashville will be without Francis Bouillon (upper body), Marek Svatos (lower body), Cal O'Reilly (leg), Matthew Lombardi (concussion) and Jordin Tootoo (personal reasons).

Stat Pack -- Nashville had scored a power-play goal in three straight games before going 0-for-5 against the Oilers. … Datsyuk has 3 goals and 2 assists in two games this season against the Predators. ... Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi needs 2 points to get to 700 for his career. He is six games shy of 1,000 for his career.

Puck Drop -- "We know how good he is offensively and defensively, so it gives our team a boost to have a world-class player like him back," Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said of Datsyuk after Monday's win. "It didn't look like he had missed 19 games."
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