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Red Wings host Predators in Central Division clash

by Brian Hunter /
PREDATORS (12-8-6) at RED WINGS (17-5-3)

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

Last 10:
Nashville 5-2-3; Detroit 6-2-2

Season series: Second of six meetings this season -- these Central Division rivals won't meet again until early February. The previous matchup was also played at Joe Louis Arena and the Red Wings came away with a 5-2 victory as Pavel Datsyuk scored a pair of goals and set up another.

Big story:
When the Predators got off to a fast start in October, it was largely because even when they weren't winning they were still compiling points. Nashville seems to have gotten back into that groove -- despite a 3-2 loss in Atlanta on Monday, the Predators picked up at least a point for the fifth-straight game (3-0-2) and moved into a tie with the Blues for fourth in the Central, seven points behind the Red Wings for the division lead.
Team Scope:

Predators: Life without No. 1 goalie Pekka Rinne isn't going badly so far, as rookie Anders Lindback has gone 1-0-1 in the interim. Rinne could miss up to four weeks with a left knee injury suffered in a shootout win in Columbus last week. Nashville grabbed an early 2-0 lead in Atlanta on first-period goals by Colin Wilson and Steve Sullivan, but the Thrashers got one back in the second and another in the third, then edged the Predators on Zach Bogosian's goal at 2:11 of overtime.

"We played a great first period on the road, scored two goals, got the lead, and we had more chances as well," captain Shea Weber told the Tennessean. "We just have to bury them when we can."

Red Wings:
Only once this season had Detroit lost on home ice in regulation before San Jose came to town Monday. Power-play goals by Tomas Holmstrom and Johan Franzen gave the Red Wings a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission, but they gave up four unanswered to the Sharks in a 5-2 loss. It was a missed opportunity to extend their lead atop the Western Conference standings.

"We were good for 20 minutes," coach Mike Babcock said. "The team that worked the hardest and played the hardest won."

"You can't turn over pucks and lose battles and be successful."

Who's hot: Leading scorer Cal O'Reilly has 2 goals and 2 assists during a four-game points streak for the Predators. Sullivan has goals in consecutive games and 4 points in as many games. … Franzen is tied for the Red Wings lead with 12 goals, and has 2 goals and 2 assists during a three-game points streak. 

Injury report: Nashville has forwards Matthew Lombardi (concussion) and David Legwand (lower body) on injured reserve in addition to Rinne being out. … Detroit forward Mike Modano is on injured reserve following wrist surgery.

Stat pack:
The Predators killed off a franchise-record 37 penalties in a row before the Thrashers scored a power-play goal in the third period Monday. … The Red Wings fell to 2-4-1 this season when trailing after two periods, although they have the fifth-highest points percentage (.444) in the NHL when trailing after one period.

Puck drop:
Henrik Zetterberg was an extremely rare minus-4 against San Jose, while Datsyuk, linemate Todd Bertuzzi and defenseman Niklas Kronwall were each a minus-3. The four combined for just six shots and not a single point. It was Detroit's first game back after a road trip through California, and the jet lag seemed evident. Nashville figures to see a much stronger effort from the home team on Wednesday and will have to match it to continue collecting points.

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