Time: 7:30 PM ET
Place: Little Caesars Arena
TV: FS-D+, FS-TN
Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket / 1270 AM
Preds Blog: On The Forecheck
The Red Wings should be well rested after splitting a back-to-back with the Florida Panthers on Friday and Saturday. There wasn’t much to admire about the 7-2 drubbing in the first game, but it was Jonathan Bernier’s strong play (turning aside 38-of-39 shots) that propelled the Wings to the 2-1 victory in the rematch. The fallout from the weekend saw Frans Nielsen placed on waivers (and to nobody’s surprise he went unclaimed), while Troy Stecher missed Saturday’s game with a lower-body injury.
Tonight, the Wings turn their attention to the visiting Nashville Predators , a team that has struggled so far in the month of February going 3-6 overall. Honestly, this is a team that the Wings should be able to matchup well against (splitting their first season series 1-1 earlier in the month), considering the Preds have had their scoring woes — averaging 2.3 goals for over their last 10 games.
It’s a significant drop off in production as Filip Forsberg leads the team with 15 points in 17 games and the next closest are Matt Duchene, Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi each with eight points. It’s not necessarily a good thing when you have two defensemen in your top five point producers.
The Nashville Predators won their 1st two games this year. Since then..
•10 regulation losses
•27 goals for
•52 goals against
•Trailed for 493:57 of 851:57 (58% of game time).. ????
•Held lead for 44:58 of 851:57 (5.3% of game time).. !!!!
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 19, 2021
Those are some pretty alarming numbers if you’re a Preds fan, but then again, I’m reminded of how poorly the Wings’ powerplay continues to look.
There have been 152 power play goals scored in the NHL since the Detroit Red Wings last got one themselves
— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) February 20, 2021
That really has been the biggest story for the Wings this season — an inability to capitalize on the man advantage. And, at this point, you might have a better chance at winning the lottery before they score a powerplay goal. However, this could be an opportunity to reverse that trend as the Preds rank 30th in the NHL with a 68.3 PK%. They could get some help on the powerplay if Jeff Blashill decides to put Evgeny Svechnikov in the lineup — he’s currently sitting idle on the taxi squad — in favor of a veteran like Frans Nielsen or Darren Helm, but don’t hold your breath.
Thomas Greiss would project to be in goal for the Wings based on the usual rotation we’ve seen all year long to this point, but Bernier’s stock is on the rise and might give the team the best chance to win right now. And, as Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press mentioned, there is no real update on Tyler Bertuzzi has he continues to work his way back from an upper-body injury. Getting Bert back would be just the type of life this team needs right now as they try to forge a strong net presence and maintain their competitive edge in these hockey games.