Preview: Red Wings at Predators (3/27)

Location: Bridgestone Arena

Game Time: 7:00 pm Central

TV: FSN

Radio: 104.5 The Zone (WGFX-FM)

Records:
Nashville: 43-27-5 (91)
Detroit: 38-23-13 (89)

Season Series:
11/23/09 – DET 1 – NSH 3
12/12/09 – DET 3 – NSH 2 (OT)
1/29/10 – NSH 2 – DET 4
3/5/10 – NSH 2 – DET 5

An “Off” Year? The Red Wings have won the Central Division 8 times in a row. They have registered over 100 points in a season 9 times in a row. They have never finished worse than 2nd in the Central Division since there has been a Central Division. The Predators have never finished ahead of them in the final standings. With just 8 games to go in the season, all of those streaks are in danger. However, don’t let that fool you. The Wings were 19 points behind the Blackhawks at the Olympic break and out of contention. Now they are just 10 back. Ahem.

Detroit Dominance: Not surprisingly, the Red Wings hold a significant edge on the Predators in the all-time series. In the 67 times the two teams have met, the Predators have only won 23 times. The Red Wings’ 40 victories over the Predators is far and away the most of Predators’ opponent. In fact, 2008-09 was the only time in franchise history that the Predators won the season series against Detroit – a feat which will not occur this year.

Mule Day: Detroit’s late season surge almost directly corresponds with the return of Johan Franzen to the lineup. Franzen scored the game winning goal against Chicago on October 9…and then tore his ACL. He missed the next 55 games. Since returning, he has scored 13 points in 16 games. It may not sound impressive, but consider this: Without Franzen, the Wings were 25-19-11, a .454 win percentage. Since he’s returned, they are 12-2-2 with a .750 win percentage.

Horn Dog: Patric Hornqvist lit the lamp for the 29th time this season on Thursday with his first period backhander against Ilya Bryzgalov. With 9 points in the last 9 games, including 6 goals, Hornqvist is on pace to become only the fourth player in franchise history to reach the 30-goal barrier. Not bad for Mr. Irrelevant 2005.

Quest for 50: With a goal and an assist each, Steve Sullivan and Patric Hornqvist moved their season scoring totals to 47 points, one behind team leader Martin Erat, who sits at 48 points. The Predators have never made the playoffs without a 50-point scorer.

Legwand-O-Meter Still Ticking: Despite being the shootout hero on Thursday night, David Legwand has not scored a goal in 33 games. Per the section303.com Legwand-O-Meter, that will be almost 84 days by game time. And we have to go back to last calendar year before we can find Leggy scoring on a goalie. So yeah…

Magic Number: With Calgary’s losses to the Islanders and the Bruins, combined with the Preds’ victory over Phoenix, the magic number to guarantee a playoff spot dropped to 7 points. In other words, if the Predators pick up 7 points over the final 7 games of the season, there is no way that they can drop beyond 8th place.

Quick Notes: The anticipated goalie matchup is Chris Osgood vs. Pekka Rinne, as Jimmy Howard played in the Wings’ Friday night victory over the Wild. Howard, despite being the clear starter in Detroit, has yet to play a minute this season in the Bridgestone Arena…The Predators have never missed the playoffs in a season that they had at least 91 points. They currently have 91 points this season…Jason Arnott will most likely miss his fourth straight game, while Joel Ward will most likely miss his third straight, meaning that Nick Spaling and Cal O’Reilly will probably be in the line up again. O’Reilly has 2 points in his 3 games since being moved back onto the roster…For real-time tweets during the game, be sure to follow us at @cellblock303 and, to join in on the conversation, be sure to tweet along with us by following @PredFans.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Nicholson