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Predators-Red Wings Preview

NHL.com @NHL

The Detroit Red Wings are one of the NHL's oldest teams while the Nashville Predators are one of the youngest. That difference has been clearly evident in back-to-back games.

The Red Wings hope to post a rare win in the second of consecutive games and take over the league's overall points lead Wednesday night when the teams complete a home-and-home set at Joe Louis Arena.

With a 5-2 victory Tuesday at Nashville, the Red Wings (44-17-9) moved within one point of Nashville for the Central Division lead and the NHL's best record.

Kyle Calder continued to play well with his new team, recording a goal and two assists as the Red Wings ended a stretch where the home team had won six straight in this series.

Calder has two goals and seven assists in seven games since joining Detroit.

"They're a real good team, we're a real good team," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We had the upper hand tonight. We've got to go back and try to do the same. It's so evenly matched just a fine line turns the game. We were fortunate tonight."

The Predators (46-19-6), who had points in 10 straight, weren't happy at having lost the chance to pad their lead.

"They came in and stole two points here," center Jason Arnott said. "We have to go back there and play just as well. We have to be a little bit better and put pucks in the net tomorrow. Other than that, we've got to try for two points."

Playing games on back-to-back nights should benefit Nashville, which is 13-2-2 in such contests this season while Detroit is 3-7-3. The Red Wings have lost five straight (0-4-1) in the second of back-to-back games.

Including goaltender Chris Osgood, Detroit had seven players 35 or older in Tuesday's lineup. Nashville, meanwhile, has no 35-year-old players on its roster.

Tuesday's win was Detroit's fourth in six games this season against the Predators. The Red Wings have dominated this series at home, winning all three meetings this season and compiling a 17-2-3 mark with two ties since Nashville entered the NHL in 1998-99.

What would benefit the Predators even more would be the return of center Peter Forsberg, who missed his fifth straight game with an upper-body injury. Forsberg, however, is not expected back until Saturday against Dallas at the earliest.

Also missing from Nashville's lineup were forward Martin Erat, whom the team announced Wednesday would miss up to four weeks with a sprained left knee, along with forwards Steve Sullivan (back), Scott Hartnell (foot) and Scott Nichol (broken thumb).

"Probably the closest one would be Peter, he would be the one closest to coming back," Predators coach Barry Trotz said on the team's official Web site. "As you know I'm not a doctor, but I would think Peter is the closest and we're hoping for Saturday."

Detroit was also without several key players, as second-leading scorer Henrik Zetterberg missed his seventh game with an inflamed disc in his back. Forward Daniel Cleary (knee) and defenseman Danny Markov (upper body) were also sidelined.

Dominik Hasek is expected to be in net for Detroit. Hasek is 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and one shutout this season against Nashville.

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