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Game Day: Preds at Red Wings

The Preds Make Their Final Visit to Joe Louis Arena to Face the Wings

by Brooks Bratten & Thomas Willis @PredsNHL /

The Nashville Predators begin their second consecutive weekend of back-to-back matchups tonight in Detroit as they face the Red Wings. The Preds are looking to improve on their 1-2-0 record in the young season, and they'll face a Detroit team that has won two-straight contests.

On the Red Wings side of the ice, Thomas Vanek and Mike Green lead the team with identical stat lines (3g-3a) through four games. Darren Helm also has three goals in four games for the Wings, and goaltender Petr Mrazek has started three games, going 1-2-0.

Ryan Johansen leads the Preds in points with four - all assists - and Captain Mike Fisher has two goals, both on the power play. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is 1-1-0 in his two starts this season with a 2.03 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage.

As the Preds prepare to face the Wings for the final time at the Joe, here are three things to know:

Video: The Preds play their final game at Joe Louis Arena

High Five:

The Preds have scored seven goals in three games, with five of those coming on the power play. On one hand, the special teams production is satisfying. At even strength, however, the Predators would prefer a different result. That was the focus through much of the last two days of practice, with the team hoping to find the back of the net more often without the help of the man advantage.

"Our special teams have been pretty good, so we have to keep that going, but 5-on-5, we want to generate more offense," defenseman P.K. Subban said. "I think it's just the little things, the little details, just paying attention to small things that should help us. We worked and we talked about those little things over the past couple days, and tomorrow we'll have to put them to work and make sure that we're focusing on them."

Change 'Em Up:

As the Preds search for more offensive production, the forward lines were tweaked for the first time this season during Thursday's practice, a move that could provide a few sparks up front. Head Coach Peter Laviolette said he and the staff continue to look at their lineup in order to find the best combinations, so keep an eye out to see which line combinations may work best tonight.

"We have to be better 5-on-5 and we have to find ways to score," Captain Mike Fisher said. "One of those things is just finding the right groups and hopefully this will help.

Farewell to the Joe:

Tonight's contest for the Preds will mark their final regular season visit to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, 18 years to the day since they played there for the first time in October of 1998. Of course, none of the current Preds players were around when that took place, but the building has provided plenty of memories over the years for those who will be in the lineup tonight, as well as radio broadcasters Brent Peterson and Pete Weber (who wrote a blog on the subject). So take in the sights from Hockeytown one last time as the Preds do their part to find two more points before the building sees its final puck drop.

Projected Lineups: 

Predators Projected Lineup

Note: The Preds held an optional morning skate. The lines are based on recent practice rushes.

Calle Jarnkrok Ryan Johansen James Neal
Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Colin Wilson Mike Fisher Viktor Arvidsson
Cody Bass Colton Sissons Kevin Fiala
Roman Josi P.K. Subban  
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis  
Yannick Weber Matt Carle  
Pekka Rinne Marek Mazanec  
Red Wings Projected Lineup
Tomas Tatar Henrik Zetterberg Riley Sheahan
Justin Abdelkader Frans Nielson Dylan Larkin
Gustav Nyquist Darren Helm Thomas Vanek
Steve Ott Luke Glendening Drew Miller
Danny DeKeyser Mike Green  
Brendan Smith Ryan Sproul  
Jonathan Ericsson Alexey Marchenko  
Petr Mrazek Jimmy Howard  

Take It In:

Tonight's contest in Detroit begins at 6:30 p.m. CT and can be seen on Fox Sports Tennessee with Willy Daunic, Stu Grimson and Lyndsay Rowley - don't forget the night starts with the Predators Live! Pregame show at 6 p.m. You can also hear the game on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network with Pete Weber and Brent Peterson on the call.

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