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RED WINGS (15-11-5) at PREDATORS (18-11-2)
Last 10 -- Detroit 4-5-1; Nashville 6-3-1
Season series -- The Red Wings are coming to Music City for the second time this season. Nashville won the first meeting, 3-1 on Nov. 23. The teams don't meet again until the Predators visit Joe Louis Arena for the first time on Jan. 29.
Big story -- Don't look now, but it's the Red Wings looking up at the Predators in the Central Division standings, rather than the other way around. The Wings continue to have trouble scoring, though they did rally from a 2-0 third-period deficit to beat Anaheim 3-2 in overtime on Friday night. Nashville has won its last two and 15 of its last 21, including Thursday's 4-3 shootout win over Columbus.
Red Wings -- If the Wings bounce back after their up-and-down start, they might cite Friday as a turning point. Detroit trailed Anaheim 2-0 in the third period before an early power-play goal by Tomas Holmstrom started a comeback. Todd Bertuzzi then tied the game at 9:36 and won it with a circus shot 67 seconds into OT.
Bertuzzi's game-winner came when he picked a tiny hole over Jean-Sebastien Giguere's shoulder as the goaltender hugged the right post.
"I think it's just being in the league for a while and knowing goaltenders and playing with Jiggy," said Bertuzzi, a former Duck, "and knowing he likes to hug the post. There's not a lot of room up there but just enough to squeak it in."
Predators -- Expect second-year goaltender Pekka Rinne in the net against the Wings. Rinne has had a lot of success against Detroit, posting a 4-1 record and a 2.17 goals-against average in his five career decisions -- including a 30-save performance in the 3-1 win last month.
After a slow start this season, Rinne is now 13-6-1 with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He has reasserted himself as the No. 1 goaltender, a role he assumed last season but saw disappear after being outplayed by Dan Ellis during training camp.
Who's hot -- Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard continues to take playing time away from Chris Osgood. He's 2-1-0 in his last three starts, but has allowed only four goals. His record is now 9-6-1, and his goals-against average is down to 2.42. … Nashville's Martin Erat has scored six times during a four-game goal-scoring streak. Predators captain Jason Arnott has 4 goals and 7 points in his has five games and is 5-3-8 in his last six against the Wings.
Injury report -- The Wings continue to drop like flies. They lost forward Dan Cleary (separated shoulder) on Wednesday and saw defenseman Brian Rafalski leave Friday's game after taking a puck in the face -- though he did return. Detroit has five regulars on IR, with none likely to be back before Christmas. … In contrast, the Predators are healthy.
Stat pack -- Holmstrom's goal ended Detroit's 102:24 overall scoreless drought and 142:18 dry spell at Joe Louis Arena. … Nashville has won its last four meetings with the Wings, its longest winning streak against Detroit since entering the NHL in 1998. … The Predators improved to 4-1 in shootouts by beating Columbus.
Puck drop -- The Wings are as close to an archrival as the Predators have, so playing Detroit is always special -- especially since it's the Wings, not the Preds, that are playing catch-up in the standings.
"We have to keep them at the bottom of our division if we want to go to the playoffs," Erat said after Thursday's win over Columbus. "We are doing a good job these last two games."
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