After a little bit of a lay off over the holiday season we are back today with our NHL picks. We hope that all of our readers enjoyed (or are enjoying) their holiday season and are looking forward to the new year! I for one am very excited for the new year considering I will be attending the Winter Classic at the Big House in Ann Arbour, Michigan on January 1st between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings. An exciting and freezing cold day lies ahead Wednesday, but now let’s get to our lone pick for this evening as we will be focussing on the Detroit Red Wings @ Nashville Predators match up from Music City.
Detroit Red Wings @ Nashville Predators
My Pick – RED WINGS (+105) @ 5Dimes.eu ($520 free)
Former Central Division rivals will clash tonight in Nashville as the Predators will host the Red Wings for the only time this season after the Predators won in their only visit to Detroit in November. This will also be the final tune up for the Wings before they head home to host the biggest hockey game in the history of the sport in terms of attendance. Upwards of 110,000 people are expected on hand Wednesday at the Big House, which will have some labelling tonight’s game as a trap game for the Red Wings, but I’m not buying it. As the Leafs displayed last night with a 5-2 win over Carolina, trap games may not always hold true before the Classic. This veteran Red Wings team has too many experienced leaders like Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall, Daniel Alfredsson, and Head Coach Mike Babcock to let the hype of the Winter Classic become a distraction tonight. The Wings are getting healthier by the day as they welcomed back Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader Saturday night in Florida, and it looks as if Jimmy Howard and Darren Helm could be back tonight in Nashville to help fill out a lineup that has been just decimated with injuries to key players. Zetterberg made his presence felt right away with a goal in his return and clicked once again on the powerplay with Datsyuk. The Wings are 12-3-3 on the road this season and 6-2 in their last 8 games away from home. The Preds haven’t been a great home team this season with a 9-8-3 record at Bridgestone Arena, and are just 3-7 in their last 10 games at home.
The Wings have won three of their last four games overall thanks to some big time play from their best players. Datsyuk has six points over his last four games while Daniel Alfredsson has five points over his last five games. Before November’s loss to the Predators, the Wings had won three straight against Nashville while averaging 4 goals per game in that three-game span. The Predators have lost five of their last six games overall and have given up 20 goals over their last five games, an average of four per game.
I like the Wings tonight as slight underdogs to maintain focus and use their healthier lineup tonight to continue a hot stretch from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville