Although the playoffs are a long shot for the Nashville Predators this season, the Detroit Red Wings still have a shot at making it into the postseason. Something we as hockey fans are not used to saying. Sitting in 9th in a three way tie the Red Wings have 45 points and tonight’s game is a make or brake season for the guys in red. Especially with the surging Blue Jackets creeping up the ladder.
With a Wings victory today whether it’s in regulation or overtime, it would temporarily put them in 8th with 47 points, tied for 7th with the Minnesota Wild. Winning the Central division, that’s out of the question as the Chicago Blackhawks have already clinched the Central division with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Red Wings on Friday.
The Wings have plenty of fire power to skate out of Nashville with a victory today against a banged up Predators squad, but their top guns are on a current cold streak. Top goal-scorer Pavel Datsyuk has scored twice in his last eight games. Damien Brunner has one in his last 18 games, Zetterberg has gone 10 in a row without scoring and Johan Franzen ended a seven-game goal drought with a tally Friday.
Detroit is 2-6-1 in its last nine against Nashville (15-19-8), including last year’s postseason. The Predators have won four of the last five meetings at home, with all being decided by one goal.
The Predators are playing without forwards Colin Wilson, Paul Gaustad and Gabriel Bourque, who are facing season-ending operations. Mike Fisher and Brandon Yip were scratched from Friday’s 5-2 loss to Dallas because of injuries.
On top of that misery, captain Shea Weber has come out and said that he’s pretty much done with babysitting his players. It was a clear indication that Weber wanted out of Nashville last summer when he signed an offer sheet with Philly, and his season play still proves he sill wants out.
“I can’t go around babysitting the other guys,” he said. “It’s a personal thing. At the end of the day, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say you are playing your hardest and you are doing everything you can to help the team win.”
Detroit Red Wings – Jimmy Howard
Nashville Predators – Pekka Rinne
The playoffs are out of the question for the Predators unless they can win their remaining 8 games in regulation, which is unlikely. With that being said, the Red Wings still have a shot at making the post season with a victory today. They still have something to play for, especially since they will still get paid a bonus even if they only play one round of the playoffs.
I expect the Wings to break the ice today against a struggling Pekka Rinne in net and get back, well sort of back on track of scoring goals. It won’t be an easy victory for the Wings, the Predators always seem to play hard against them with and without their top players.
The key for the Wings to win this match-up will be an early start into the game. Nothing less than 2 goals by the end of the first period is what we need to get this win.
Detroit Red Wings -130 ($100)
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