The Nashville Predators are in Detroit, where they will play the Red Wings tonight at 6 p.m. CST (FS-TN) for the first time this season.
The Predators had been red hot, going 7-2-2 in one stretch, but have now lost three games in a row and played their worst game of the season on Tuesday against Edmonton. They played better in a loss in Minneapolis on Wednesday.
Barry Trotz felt that the Predators could have won the game against the Wild with a few breaks. "We played a hundred times better (on Wednesday) than we did the night before. Minnesota is the top team in the conference and we made a couple of errors."
"They got a little bit of a lucky bounce, where it hit the stanchion and Peks gets caught in between and lo and behold we are down. With any luck, we could have had four power play goals that game."
The Wings started the season with five wins in a row and then lost the next six games. Since that time they are 8-2 and have won their last four including a 3-2 shoot-out win over Boston yesterday in the first NBC "Thanksgiving Showdown."
While last year's playoff series against Anaheim and Vancouver has raised the level of hatred between the Preds and the two west coast teams, Detroit remains the Predators number one rivalry, going back to the early years when Bridgesone Arena would be half red, and half blue for home games.
Primarily due to the Wings' dominance in the early years of the franchise, Nashville has an all-time 28-35-12 record against Detroit. In the past three seasons, the Predators hold a 10-5-2 overall record against the Wings, including 5-4-0 at Joe Louis Arena.
Pekka Rinne (10-6-4, 2.39, .927) has been a nemesis for Detroit as he holds an 8-2-3 career record with a 2.12 goals against average and has shutout the Wings three times.
Jimmy Howard (12-5-1, .929, 1.91) was in goal yesterday for the Wings so it is unclear if he will start or if they would go with backup Ty Conklin (1-2-0, .880, 3.33).
Update from Josh Cooper: Howard will start his 15th straight game.
Jon Blum thinks that the Preds are ready for the road trip. "We know this trip is going to be huge. This could make or break us right now. You lose two games, you're in fourth place and then you fall to tenth. Everything is so tight, we just want to get points in every game."
After the game, the Predators will head to Edmonton where they will play the Oilers for the second time in seven days on Monday, play in Calgary on Tuesday, and then at the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday before returning home.
For other Predator previews see Amanda DiPaolo, Smashville 24/7 Dirk Hoag, Predatorial, The Tennessean, and Predators.com. Ryan Porth talks to Pekka Rinne about what to expect from the Wings tonight.
For previews from the Motor City, check out MLive, the Detroit Free Press, Winging It in Motown, and the Detroit News.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass