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Morning Skate: Two Big Points

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Tonight will be a very interesting game. The Red Wings had their backs up against the wall last night against the Kings and stole victory from the jaws of defeat. I'm going to bet that just about everyone thought the game was over when L.A. scored to go up 3-2 with around five minutes to go in the hockey game. Then something happened. The Zetterberg/Filppula duo teamed up with Smith to tie the game. A few minutes later, Franzen and the new kid, Nyquist, set up Helm for the game-winning goal. All of it was unexpected from a team that could barely get a shot on net the entire game. As Graham said in the recap, last night's game just might have been "season-defining."

That's why I'm so curious to see what happens tonight. The Wings are still plagued with injuries and will be facing a Predators team that is much, much better than the Kings. How will this team react to what happened last night? Can they take last's night victory, add in the motivation of facing a division foe and steal a game on the road against a Nashville team that is very good at home? The Preds are 6-2-1 in their last nine game and coming off a 4-2 win against the Avalanche. This is their last home game before they head out on a four game road trip out West.

If the Wings can pull out this game and get on a roll as they head out west, we really could look back and say, "wow, that Kings game really was season-defining." Right now though, it's just another test for the team and another huge two points on the line. The race to the playoffs is on and the Wings need two points tonight more than ever.


On the Forecheck is your SBNation Predators' blog.

Puck drop is just after 8p ET on Fox Sports Detroit.

The Expected Lineup


Valtteri Filppula -- Henrik Zetterberg -- Jiri Hudler

Johan Franzen -- Darren Helm -- Drew Miller

Danny Cleary -- Justin Abdelkader -- Gustav Nyquist

Jan Mursak -- Cory Emmerton -- Tomas Holmstrom


Niklas Kronwall -- Brad Stuart

Kyle Quincey -- Ian White

Brendan Smith -- Doug Janik


Joey MacDonald (starting)

Jordan Pearce

Scratches: Joakim Andersson

Injuries: Patrick Eaves (concussion), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle), Jonathan Ericsson (vagina), Todd Bertuzzi (groin), Jimmy Howard (groin), and Jakub Kindl (upper body)

44-21-3 (91 pts; 4th in West) Record 39-21-7 (85 pts; 5th in West)
3.06 (4th in NHL) Goals Per Game 2.82 (9th in NHL)
2.31 (4th) Goals Against Per Game 2.52 (10th)
16.4% (18th) Power Play % 20.8% (2nd)
82.1% (15th) Penalty Kill % 82.4% (13th)
Johan Franzen (25 goals) Goal Leader Two tied with 20 goals
Pavel Datsyuk (59 points) Points Leader Martin Erat (49 points)

  • The Red Wings are 46-22-4-7 all-time against the Nashville Predators franchise.
  • The Predators are 0-for-8 on the power play in their last five games so they will probably score a power play goal on the Wings tonight. Detroit won't score a power play goal because they're awful at it.
  • Detroit is 3-1-0 against Nashville so far this season. Last time they met the Wings scored a goal in the final seconds to win 2-1. Sadly, Datsyuk and Lidstrom won't be on the ice to make that kind of magic happen again tonight.
  • How'd the Preds do at the deadline? Paul Gaustad has two assists and is a minus-2 in three games so far with a 62% winning percentage on faceoffs. Andrei Kostitsyn has a goal, three assists and is a plus-2 in four games.
  • How can the Wings count on? Hank Zetterberg has 12 points (5G, 7A) in his last six games. Val Filppula has 11 points (5G, 6A) in his last six games. Nik Kronwall has eight points (2G, 6A) in his last five games. Brendan Smith has three points (G, 2A) in his last four games.
  • Joey MacDonald is 1-3-0 with a 2.46 GAA and .908 SV% in his career agains the Preds. Pekka Rinne is 9-5-3 with 2.38 GAA, .929 SV% and three shutouts all-time against the Wings.
  • Detroit is 8-3-0 on the second night of back-to-back games.

Prediction: It's going to be a dog fight tonight. I don't know how but the Wings are going to pull out a 3-2 win and Henrik Zetterberg is going to have something to do with it. He's your player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings.