(Preview from The Sports Network)
The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to avoid their longest losing streak of the season tonight, when they welcome the rival Nashville Predators for a Central Division clash at Joe Louis Arena.
The Red Wings have lost two straight games, including Monday's 5-2 setback to the visiting San Jose Sharks. The mini-slide marks the second time Detroit has lost consecutive tilts this year and Mike Babcock's squad hasn't dropped three straight since a four-game slide from Feb. 3-11 of last season.
After dropping an overtime decision in Los Angeles on Saturday, the Red Wings returned to Motown to kick off a three-game homestand Monday against San Jose. However, the Sharks, who eliminated Detroit in the Western Conference semifinals during last year's playoffs, recorded a 5-2 victory.
Logan Couture picked up a pair of goals to lead the Sharks to the win. Detroit led the game 2-1 after the first period, but Niclas Wallin and Couture scored eight seconds apart in the second frame to give San Jose the lead for good.
Tomas Holmstrom registered a goal and an assist and Johan Franzen also scored for the Red Wings, who had won four in a row prior to this slide. Jimmy Howard took the loss, saddled with all five goals on 35 shots.
"It wasn't there tonight for whatever reason," Babcock said.
Despite Monday's loss, the Red Wings have still won seven of their last nine home games and are 10-2-2 at the Joe this year. Detroit will complete the residency Friday night against Montreal.
The Red Wings notched a 5-2 win over the Predators in Detroit on Oct. 30 as Pavel Datsyuk had two goals and an assist to lead his team to victory. Detroit has won seven of the last 12 games in the regular-season series and Nashville has dropped five of eight in the Motor City.
The Predators had a three-game winning streak halted their last time out, but still enter tonight with a five-game point streak after Monday's overtime loss in Atlanta. Nashville, which is seven points behind Central-leading Detroit, is 3-0-2 over its last five games.
Nashville was dealt a 3-2 loss in Atlanta after Thrashers defenseman Zach Bogosian netted the game-winner at the 2:11 mark of overtime. The decisive goal came when Ben Eager picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated it past the blue line. He found a wide open Bogosian on a cross-ice pass, and the defenseman was able to finish with a quick shot.
Steve Sullivan and Colin Wilson each lit the lamp for the Predators, who failed to protect an early two-goal lead. Anders Lindback turned away 34 shots in the loss.
"I thought we played pretty well," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "We were a little slow out of the gates. Then we got going and we scored a goal. Then we were fine. We had chances to go up 3-0, 3-1 but they kept hanging around and they got a power-play goal. I thought we played a pretty good game against a team that is playing really well right now."
Nashville forward David Legwand could make his return to the lineup tonight after sitting out the last nine games with a lower-body injury. He has returned to practice and may be activated from injured reserve in time for this evening's test.
The Preds are 7-7-1 as the visiting team this year and have lost three of their last four on the road.