The Nashville Predators (5-1-3) face their biggest test of the season tonight in Detroit (5-2-1) when they take on the Red Wings at 6 p.m. Central on SportsSouth.
When the Preds lost their first game (in OT) they followed it with two more OT losses. Will they do the same tonight or come back and beat their long time rival at Joe Louis Arena where Detroit is 24-4-2-5 all-time against Nashville. The Preds remain undefeated on the road (3-0) in this young season.
The Preds and Wings are both coming off home losses on Thursday night. The Preds lost 3-0 to the Blues while the Wings lost to the Coyotes 4-2.
Linus Klasen, the AHL's leading scorer, is set to make his NHL debut tonight. It is unclear where he will fit in the line-up but he could take the place of Mary Erat who has been suffering with back spasms and was mostly ineffective on Thursday and sat out practice on Friday.
The Wings will have Justin Abdelkader back for his first game of the season after being out with a rib injury since the preseason. Jiri Hudler will sit as a healthy scratch.
Pekka Rinne (2-1-2, 1.87 GAA, .946 Save %) will face Chris Osgood (1-2-0, 3.01, .885) who will be filling in the injured Jimmy Howard.
Both teams have key injuries early in the season. In addition to Howard, Detroit will be missing Kris Draper (sports hernia), Brian Rafalski, and Jonathan Ericsson. The Predators continue to be without Ryan Suter, Marcel Goc, and Matthew Lombardi.
Historically, the Wings have outshot the Predators by large margins. So far this year, the Preds have averaged 29.9 shots while giving up 34.8. The Wings have outshot their opponents 34.0 to 28.1 so the trend appears ready to continue.
The Predators will be at a disadvantage on the power play, 18.4% conversion rate for Detroit versus 14.7% for the Preds and the penalty kill, 89.7% to 81,8%.
In summary, the deck appears stacked against the Predators so it will be a matter of heart and team cohesion to see if they will be able to close ranks and overcome the odds and beat the Wings. A win tonight would be a huge step in proving the team's resiliency that Coach Barry Trotz always points toward as a key.
Other Previews from Pred Blog Land come from Amanda DiPaolo, Josh Cooper, Chris Burton, the Tennessean, and Hockey Night in Nashville.
For game previews from the Detroit side see MLive, the Detroit Free Press, and the Detroit News.
In Pred Nation...
Josh Cooper has a story about the Preds' road test while Bryan Mullen say's the league was quiet on any supplemental discipline for Jordin Tootoo. Josh also discloses that Ryan Suter hopes to go west with the team next week.
Dirk Hoag has an update on how the Dish-Fox agreement will affect upcoming games involving the Predators.
There is a new edition of the 303:30 along with a new logo.
Pekka Rinne's jersey's journey into space has been delayed slightly. Jim Diamond has the story.
Peter Horachek underwent successful prostate cancer surgery this week and will not be behind the bench tonight.
Dirk Hoag has a post on Jim Diamond's "Designated Sitters."
Mark Wiloughby has his weekly My View at The View from 111.
Chris Burton breaks down Patrik Berglund's goal on Thursday night.
Puck Daddy picked up on the Halloween Rap from Thursday's game and particularly likes Shea Weber as Frankenstein. Jason Arnott played the part better in real life.
The Milwaukee Admirals won the first half of the back to backs in Abbotsford by a 3-2 score. Chris Mueller, who took over the line spot of Linus Klasen, had the game winner.
Nashville's own J.K. Robbins (See Puck City) stops in at Intent to Blow with a story about The Fratellis making bank with the NHL.
Around the NHL...
Dish Network and Fox came to an agreement yesterday to restore Fox networks to Dish. Will Fox continue to black out games on the Center Ice Package due to their dispute with Cablevision?
Usually a "vote of confidence" for a coach is the kiss of death. We'll see what happens with the Devils.
Taylor Hall can be added to the list of 2010 draftees that will be playing their tenth game in the NHL. The Oilers have announced that he will not be returned to juniors. Tyler Seguin also got word that he is staying with Boston.
Ryan Porth has a list of players who's stock has improved in the first tenth of the season.
Rob Higgins weekly fantasy update has been posted with an interesting discussion on Roberto Luongo.
Adam Gretz takes a look at the successful transition of Dustin Byfuglien to defense amid preseason criticism of the move.
Chris Mason is finally getting relief with the return of Ondrej Pavelec to the Thrashers tonight. Mason has faced a league high 311 shots in his almost ten games before last night.
Gary Bettman and Bill Daly chatted with Yahoo writer Nicholas Cotsonika at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night. Here are the highlights.
An article about a new arena for Edmonton is pointing to Columbus as a success story. That is a bit confusing considering their attendance issues this season.
Here's a history lesson to go with the Pen's Winter Classic jersey. I've always thought when a detailed explanation is needed to reveal the symbolism of something, then it probably wasn't such a great idea. Regardless, it is a good article.
The Daily Line on Versus was canceled yesterday due to "anemic ratings." It was a fun concept during last year's SCF playoffs, but I never found my way back there after hockey was over.
BallHyped has the top 100 sports blogs on Twitter.
Copper and Blue recommends beer as the survival tool of choice this season.
Down Goes Brown reveals some shocking revelations in Kerry Fraser's new book.
Odds and Ends...
For anyone fighting foreclosure on a house or property and needs inspiration, here is a guy that refuses to move.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass