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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, February 5th (All times eastern)

Detroit Red Wings (31-14-6) at Nashville Predators (27-18-7), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators will try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season when they host the rival Detroit Red Wings for tonight's Central Division scuffle at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators are 0-3-1 over their last four games and are in danger of dropping five in a row for the first time since Dec. 18-28. Nashville also had another five-game skid earlier this season from Oct. 28-Nov. 7.

Nashville is currently second in the Central Division with 61 points, leaving the Preds seven behind Detroit for first place. The Preds are also fourth in the West and one point ahead of San Jose and Anaheim in the conference standings.

Detroit and Nashville have split a pair of meetings this year, but tonight's tilt will mark the first encounter in the Music City. The Red Wings have won five out of seven in the series overall and they have taken five of nine in Nashville.

Nashville is 11-4-6 at Bridgestone Arena this season, while the Red Wings are 16-7-2 on the road.

The Predators were dealt their fourth straight loss Thursday in Philadelphia, as Ville Leino scored twice to help lead the Flyers to a 3-2 regulation victory.

Marcel Goc and Joel Ward scored for Nashville and Anders Lindback allowed three goals on 29 shots in the loss.

Pekka Rinne is expected to start between the pipes for the Preds tonight. Nashville's No. 1 goaltender was shelled for five goals on 28 shots against in his only start against Detroit this year, but he is 5-2-2 with a 2.40 goals- against average in his career against the Red Wings.

The Red Wings, meanwhile, are coming off Friday's shutout loss to the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets. Steve Mason stopped all 34 shots thrown his way by Detroit, which had a two-game win streak halted.

Jimmy Howard was touched for two goals on 23 shots for the Red Wings, who were blanked for just the second time this season and for the first time since Dec. 13 in a 5-0 home loss to Los Angeles.

"Most nights when you give up two goals, I know they got an empty-netter, you got to find a way to win that game," said Detroit head coach Mike Babcock. "They came into our home on a weekend night in front of our fans found a way to beat us."

Detroit is hoping to receive a boost tonight from the possible return of forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, who have both missed considerable time with broken hands. Datsyuk has sat out the last 18 games and Holmstrom has missed seven tilts.

Datsyuk is fourth on Detroit with 39 points this season, while Holmstrom has 11 goals and 11 assists. Both players are questionable for tonight.

Detroit has won its last two road games and is 16-7-2 as the guest this season. The Red Wings' next two games will be on home ice, as they'll host the New York Rangers on Monday before another meeting with the Preds on Wednesday.

02/05 11:10:27 ET


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