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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, December 26th (All times eastern)

Detroit Red Wings (23-6-4) at Nashville Predators (16-14-3), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators have had all sorts of trouble scoring goals as of late. That is not a good thing with Detroit Red Wings coming to town.

The Predators will host the first-place Red Wings tonight at the Sommet Center.

Nashville has been held to one goal or less in five of its last six games. However, thanks to outstanding goaltending from Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne, the club has managed to get a point in three of those games (2-3-1).

Following a 1-0 win versus the New York Islanders last Saturday, the Predators were blanked, 3-0, by the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. Rinne made a career- high 40 saves in the setback.

Rinne and Ellis have combined to allow two goals or fewer in six straight games and in nine of their last 10 outings. The duo has four shutouts this month between the two of them -- the highest total in a single month in team history.

Rinne was coming off his third shutout of the season versus the Islanders, but fell to 7-2-0 with a 2.28 goals against average with the loss to Florida. Meanwhile, Ellis is 1-2-1 in four starts this month despite a 1.23 GAA. In fact, his lone win in that span was a shutout.

Ellis is 1-1-1 with a 1.75 GAA in four career starts versus the Red Wings, while Rinne has never faced them.

Nashville, which has lost five of its last seven games, went 3-3-2 versus Detroit last year, splitting the four games in Nashville. Martin Erat has four goals and four assists versus the Red Wings last year, while J.P. Dumont had two goals and five helpers.

However, Erat has just one goal in his last 17 games overall, with Dumont failing to score in each of his last six games.

Nashville will try to improve on a 9-4-1 home mark tonight and has won four of its last five as the host.

The Red Wings come in having won three straight and four of their last five after Tuesday's 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and an assist to run his point streak to five games, while Tomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom each had a goal.

Datsyuk has five goals and seven assists over his scoring streak and had six points (3 goals, 3 assists) in eight games versus the Predators last year.

With Chris Osgood still battling a groin strain, Ty Conklin made his third straight winning start, posting 33 saves. Conklin has a 1.67 GAA over his last three outings and is 2-1-1 with a 2.79 GAA lifetime versus the Predators.

Though Osgood hasn't started since suffering his injury on December 15, he has been serving as the backup goaltender and won't need to go on injured reserve. He hopes to make the start tomorrow in Colorado.

Detroit is 11-3-2 on the road this season, having lost three of its last four (1-2-1) as the visiting club.

12/26 10:45:09 ET


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