Predators look to extend win streak vs. rival Wings
Mike G. Morreale
RED WINGS (11-6-4) at PREDATORS (12-8-1)
Last 10 -- Detroit 7-2-1; Nashville 8-2-0
Season series -- The clubs will renew their Central Division rivalry in the first of six meetings of 2009-10. Nashville finished 4-2-0 against the Red Wings last season -- its best finish against the Wings in a season series. The Preds have won the last three meetings, including a 4-3 shootout decision on April 9 when the club rallied from a two-goal deficit in the final seven minutes of regulation. Nashville is 14-15-2 against the Red Wings at Sommet Center.
Big Story -- The Nov. 12 return of Nashville's top line -- Jason Arnott centering for Steve Sullivan and J.P. Dumont -- has played a huge part in the club stringing together a season-high five-game winning streak. Arnott has scored 3 goals over his last two games, Dumont has 5 assists in his last four and Sullivan has a four-game point-scoring streak (3 goals, 2 assists). Seven of Sullivan's 10 points have come at Sommet Center this season.
Red Wings -- The loss of defenseman Niklas Kronwall to a sprained left knee on Saturday will not force the Wings to recall a blueliner from their American Hockey League affiliate in Grand Rapids. Instead, Derek Meech will fill in for the time being and, along with youngsters Jonathan Ericsson and Brett Lebda, be counted on to play more minutes on both the power-play and penalty-killing units.
Predators -- After starting the season with just one assist in his first 10 games, David Legwand has 9 points (3 goals) in his last 11 games. The Preds will play host to the Red Wings riding a six-game home winning streak -- the third-longest in franchise history. The club has limited the opposition to fewer than 30 shots on goal in nine of the last 11 games.
Who's Hot -- Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne has earned the victory in each of the team's last five games and is 9-1-0 in his last 10 appearances. He sports a sizzling 1.71 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. For the Wings, Henrik Zetterberg has posted 11 points (5 goals) over the last six games and Dan Cleary has 7 points (3 goals) in the last seven games.
Injury Report -- For Detroit, forwards Jason Williams (fractured fibula), Valtteri Filppula (broken wrist) and Johan Franzen (torn left anterior cruciate ligament) and defensemen Andreas Lilja and Kronwall (sprained left knee) are out. The Predators assigned forward Colin Wilson, who had missed the last 8 games with a groin injury, to Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Sunday.
Stat Pack -- Nashville's power-play has at least one goal in nine of the last 13 games and has gone 12-for-56 (21.4 percent) over that span. Why is this significant? Well, the Predators are 10-0-0 when scoring a power-play goal this season.
Puck Drop -- Despite the fact the Red Wings have lost 64 man-games to injury, the club continues to persevere, having gone 4-1-1 over its last six. Rinne has won three of four career starts against Detroit, posting a 2.46 GAA and .930 save percentage in the process, so the visitors might find the going tough against the native of Kempele, Finland.