It might be a preview to a first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series when the Nashville Predators
pay their last visit of the regular season to the Motor City to play the Detroit Red Wings
on Friday night.
The Predators are currently fifth in the Western Conference at 96 points and trail the fourth-place Red Wings by just a point. A regulation victory would leapfrog Nashville past Detroit and possibly put the Preds in the driver's seat for home-ice advantage in the first round.
will make the start in goal for the Red Wings after missing the past four games with a nagging groin injury, while forward Martin Erat
will get back into the lineup for Nashville after missing the past two games with an undisclosed upper-body injury.
The last time Nashville was in Detroit, the Red Wings won the 22nd of their 23-game NHL record home winning streak in unlikely fashion. Time was running out in regulation of a 1-1 game when Nicklas Lidstrom
and Henrik Zetterberg
connected on a pair of great passes to set up Pavel Datsyuk
with a head of steam coming into the Nashville zone for one last scoring chance.
Datsyuk made a move to get around Ryan Suter
in the slot and zipped a wrister into the top left corner of the net past star Preds goalie Pekka Rinne
for a stunning victory.
"I'd say that was more like a flukey goal with five seconds left, but [Lidstrom] sees those things right away, even when he has his back turned," Preds forward Patric Hornqvist
said after Nashville's morning skate at Joe Louis Arena. "He threw the puck up to [Zetterberg] and he chipped it to Datsyuk in the middle. They have those guys in their locker room who can really make it happen."
Needless to say, Nashville hasn't forgotten the feeling after that game despite beating Detroit once since then at Bridgestone Arena.
"That can't happen again," Hornqvist said. "We can't stop playing, even when there's five seconds left and they have the puck on the far blue line. That's the lesson we learned from that game."
Here's a look at how the Predators and Red Wings might line up on Friday night at Joe Louis Arena:
- Mike Fisher
- Martin Erat
- David Legwand
- Patric Hornqvist
- Nick Spaling
- Matt Halischuk
- Paul Gaustad
- Jordin Tootoo
- Shea Weber
- Roman Josi
- Kevin Klein
- Henrik Zetterberg
- Jiri Hudler
- Pavel Datsyuk
- Todd Bertuzzi
- Justin Abdelkader
- Danny Cleary
- Cory Emmerton
- Gustav Nyquist
- Ian White
- Brad Stuart
- Jakub Kindl