Red Wings-Predators Preview
The Nashville Predators have been stellar at home lately.
That may not bode well for the road-weary Detroit Red Wings.
Nashville seeks its sixth consecutive win at Bridgestone Arena on Monday night when it hosts Central Division rival Detroit, which has lost five of its last seven on the road.
The Predators (18-13-4) are 6-2-0 in their last eight overall following a rough stretch in which they lost seven of nine Nov. 19-Dec. 6. Both of their recent losses have come on the road, including a 6-3 defeat at Dallas on Friday.
Nashville rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat Columbus 6-5 for its fifth straight home win Thursday, but couldn't duplicate the feat the following night.
"We're down 3-0 right away," coach Barry Trotz said. "You can't dig yourself a hole and come out of it every night."
The Predators have been outscored 37-23 by their opponents in the first period this season.
"We can't fall behind every game," said captain Shea Weber, who has two goals and six assists during a five-game point streak. "We think we can come back. We score a huge goal, but we give up a goal on the next shift."
Nashville spotted Detroit the first goal Dec. 15 and fell behind 3-1 before rallying to win 4-3 at home. Weber scored the tying and winning goals in the third period to avenge a 4-1 loss in Detroit on Nov. 26 in the first meeting.
The Red Wings (21-12-1) are a league-best 13-2-1 at home, but only 8-10-0 on the road.
Detroit has lost five of its last seven away from home, including a 4-2 loss in Vancouver on Wednesday and a 3-2 defeat in Calgary on Thursday. Coach Mike Babcock's team is in the midst of a road-heavy stretch, playing nine of 11 games on the road Dec. 19-Jan. 10.
"You play back-to-back on the road in the NHL all the time," Babcock said. "You've got to dig in and find a way to win. We didn't make the hard decision to do that."
Pavel Datsyuk had an assist in each of the last two defeats and has eight goals and 17 assists while earning at least one point in 15 of his last 18 games.
Henrik Zetterberg went without a point in the last two contests following a six-game point streak, although he's scored a goal in each meeting with the Predators this season.
Jimmy Howard figures to be back in net Monday for Detroit after getting the night off against Calgary. Howard is 12-3-0 with a 2.07 goals-against average in his last 15 starts, though one of those defeats came to the Predators.
He's only 2-4-1 with a 3.24 GAA in his last seven outings against them.
Pekka Rinne was pulled after allowing three goals on seven shots in 12:30 versus Dallas, but backup Anders Lindback got saddled with the loss.
Rinne is 6-0-0 with a 2.86 GAA in his last seven starts, and he's 4-1-1 with a 2.15 GAA in his last six versus Detroit.