7:30 -- Joe Louis Arena
Wings: 32-15-6 (70 points) 2nd in West | Predators: 28-19-7 (63 points) 5th in West
If you haven't already, be sure to catch Petrella's first installment of his romantic getaway with the Red Wings this past weekend. It's the opening to a riveting tale of magic wands, hot dogs, the human spirit and Italian people. Probably the coolest thing that will happen to any of us blogger folk unless we band together and help bring a guy from a different hemisphere up to Joe Louis and raise a bunch of money for charity or some improbable shit like that. While a bunch of folks are going to express jealousy and probably some form of bodily harm against you, Mike, I'd just like to say that I'm immensely happy for you and that it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Unless it were me.
While Mike took a lot of heat for being present for back-to-back shutouts and obviously having some sort of negative impact on the team, Nashville's stout defense and ability to always provide a tough match-up to us can be said to be part of the reason as well. They're a Top-5 squad in goals against per-game and penalty killing, and they're also within range of a long grenade toss to challenge for the division title. Nobody in their right mind actually thinks that's going to happen, but at the very least those guys can be very distracting when glancing at our rear-view mirror.
The Preds will go with Rinne between the pipes tonight, so I have concocted a master plan to start him on my fantasy team to lay the jinx hammer down. (Mini pessimist's pointless prediction: Wings will now lose 9-8.) They're coming off a 4-0 loss the mighty Oilers so I'm expecting nothing less than a hellacious effort out of them to start the game.
Oh, and Homer's back, by God. With him out of the lineup the last nine games, we've gone 2 for 27 on the power play. Eight of those nine we didn't score a goal. In three games against Nashville we've gone 1 for 14 -- the lone goal scored by Tomas Holmstrom.
Nashville plays the 1st period with their hair on fire, but we'll still be riding that turning-it-around momentum with Datsyuk and Homer back in the lineup to combat it. 4-3 shootout win for the good guys to avoid a 3rd straight loss to the Preds. Hank scores the winner with his first shootout goal since a locker room game of NHL 94 against Kyle Calder.