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Morning Skate: The Hulk's favorite city

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The Predators are 12 points behind the Red Wings in the Central Division and tonight's game in Nashville is a chance for the Wings to distance themselves further. The Predators have struggled to find any consistency lately and seem to be treading water trying to make the playoffs.

Pekka Rinne has started 19 consecutive games for the Predators and will likely go tonight against the Wings. Nashville has won 3 of the previous 4 meetings this season, and won three straight against the Red Wings. The Red Wings are a good road team though and may be able to pick up 2 big points in Nashville.

The Red Wings will be without Pavel Datsyuk as he did not make the trip to Nashville, or at least that's what FS-Detroit's Trevor Thompson tweeted. Datsyuk suffered a lower body injury and is listed as day-to-day, this is a precautionary move and one that many are fine with the playoffs on the horizon. Brian Rafalski was also hurt in the Columbus game, but is set to play tonight.

On the Forecheck is your SB Nation Nashville Predators site.

  • Jimmy Howard will get the start in net tonight for the Wings. Howard is 0-2 this season against the Predators.
  • Expect Joel Ward to score. That's just what he does against the Red Wings. Ward is probable for tonight's game.
  • The Predators are 26th in the league in goals for per game but are top 2 in goals against per game. Their 3rd ranked penalty kill helps them out a lot 
  • Patric Hornqvist was fined $2,500 for his elbow on Tyler Seguin. Hornqvist faced no suspension though. Given how blatant it was (and the fact that it was to the head) was it dumb to not punish him with a suspension?
  • Jiri Hudler is still out with the flu, or flu symptoms. Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller and Kris Draper will all start tonight as Hudler and Datsyuk are both out. Expect a lot more grind and a lot less finesse tonight. That may work well against the Predators though and maybe Eaves and Draper can get behind the Predators on rushes to create scoring chances.
  • Also: the daily number is just a weekday thing so...don't look for one today or tomorrow.
  • I asked @papusicataylor to write the morning skate and here's what she had to say: 
    "preds fighting to regain playoff spot. wings tired from busy week. pekka rinne big. game: scary. Jimmeh!"
  • Score Prediction: 3-1 Detroit. Detroit keeps rolling and finally wins against the Predators.
  • Player of the Game Prediction: Jimmy Howard