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.
“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
Pekka Rinne was pulled after allowing three goals on seven shots
in 12:30 versus Dallas, but backup Anders Lindback got saddled with
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.