Keys to Watch
The Nashville Predators have spent the last six weeks of play with multiple injuries. Many of the top players from James Neal to Roman Josi has been on the shelf. Josi has missed nine games due to injury and was placed on Injured Reserve. He has scored 5 goals and 17 assists in 42 games this season. The Predators need his strong play to enhance their defensive corps and to press the offense on the back end. I wouldn’t expect Josi to play his average of 25:14 time-on-ice which ranks him ninth in the league. It will be good to have him back, and at full speed.
The rivalry between the Red Wings and Predators has always been a classic. After Detroit went into the Eastern Conference, the rivalry has remained, mostly because of the numerous transplants into the Middle Tennessee area. The Red Wings are missing many of their top players including Johan Franzen, Joe Vitale, Jimmy Howard, Steve Ott, and Niklas Kronwall. It is very difficult to go through a period of injuries like what Detroit is experiencing. The Red Wings are 26th in the NHL with 51 total points, 14th in the Eastern Conference, and eight points off of the wild card pace.
Since January 8th, Craig Smith has two points. On the season, Smith has nine goals and seven assists over 49 games this season. The Predators are in need of their top six players to produce every single night, but with inconsistent, sub-par performances from Smith, Nashville needs more. The Madison, Wisconsin native only has six points since December 13th, and if he can’t produce, the Predators will find someone else that can.
The Nashville Predators will play game two of their current home-stand at Bridgestone Arena. Be sure to catch all of the action on Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00 pm!