Game Day Preview
Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings
6:30 pm CST
Radio Only: 97.1 RQQ, Predators Radio Network
Coming off a hard-fought victory over the LA Kings last night the Predators look to keep the wins coming against the Detroit Red Wings, a team that itself has fought its way into playoff contention and is getting healthy at the right time.
Predators head coach Barry Trotz said before last night’s game he expected a playoff-type intensity, and it certainly seemed to be there. Even Patric Hornqvist
mentioned it during the second period chat we had – the teams can definitely feel the pressure of the stretch run, but with the Preds finding a way to get wins, the confidence level has to rise just a bit each time that final buzzer sounds.
In Detroit the hostile environment of Joe Louis Arena will make it tough on Nashville, which must at all costs avoid the slow start of last night’s game. The Kings were able to poke one home in the game’s opening minute, but fortunately a short time later simply gave one back as J-P Dumont capitalized on a miscue by goaltender Jonathan Quick. That incident seemed to right the ship for the Predators, who got a timely power play goal from Jason Arnott later in the contest en route to the 4-2 win.
The Red Wings know they have to use the advantage of being at home as much as possible, and many eyes will be watching Johan Franzen as he takes to the ice. Often times the talk of players who have any sort of ACL trouble and miss significant time like Franzen has is that it takes them almost a full season to get back to form. But since coming back prior to the Olympic break, Franzen has registered a point in each game, and scored in his last four straight. So much for that theory!
Another key for Nashville will be getting to rookie netminder Jimmy Howard. A standout at Maine in college and with several AHL seasons under his belt, Howard is not as big a surprise as some may think. Perhaps the real surprise is that he so easily wrested away the title of starter from Chris Osgood, who has struggled mightily this season. Howard still has his nights where growing pains are evident, and Nashville will need to get plenty of traffic in front of the net to distract the young goaler. If they can crowd the crease, odds of an off-night increase no matter which keeper the Wings throw out there.
It should be a great game tonight, and I’m actually predicting that since the Predators played last night, they’ll have some jump to start the game. Remember, we’re on early tonight since Detroit is in the Eastern Time Zone. See you Sunday against the Canucks at 2 pm!