The 1st place Nashville Predators look for a better performance tonight at home, as in their last game, they lost for only the fourth time at home to the Minnesota Wild. I was on the Preds in that game and of course they had to lose a game in Nashville then. They still own a blistering home record of 26-4 and as such are the best home team in the NHL this season. They have the best home record and best overall record in the league. Something that may have seemed like a pipe dream for the Predators before the season began. The Preds went through a re-branding in the offseason, firing long time coach Barry Trotz, who is doing a fine job in Washington mind you. Nevertheless, the move has come up aces, as the Predators offense has seen a major change in production. Interestingly enough, the Predators a team that has long depended on their defense is 1st in the league because of the offense.
The Predators at the top of the hill has been one of the most glaring surprises this season. On the other side of the ice tonight is what can be described as another surprise. I cant say it is on the same level as the Predators, but I am not sure a lot of people forecasted the Red Wings to be playing well. If they keep their core healthy then they are as good as any other team in the NHL. With Mike Babcock behind the bench I am not going to doubt this team in the playoffs. If Datsyuk can stay on the ice without an injury they gave a legitimate opportunity at being major threats in the playoffs. Beating the Predators this afternoon would be another step in the right direction for the Red Wings.
Detroit Red Wings @ Nashville Predators
Thus far the Red Wings have been going in a very good direction. The same could be said the Predators. Who is going to take another leap forward after this one is all said and done? I was attracted to this game for a couple of reasons. Of course the betting angle, but I am really interested in the result of this game. The numbers tell us that the Predators should bounce back after losing at home. With a 26-4 record in Nashville it almost seems crazy that they’d drop two in a row. However, the Red Wings are one team that might be able to do that. Just like the Predators, the Wings’ offense has made major improvements. They are 7th in the NHL in scoring. Last season the Wings were 16th in that regard. It is a similar kind of story for the Predators as well, even more of a jump for them, though. A year ago the Preds were 19th in the NHL in scoring, flash forward to today and they are 6th, averaging 2.95 goals per game.
Both the Wings and Predators have competent defenses to back the offenses up. However, how often are you going to find a total of 5 with two top 10 offenses playing one another? The public perception is still that the Predators have no offense and the defense is carrying the load. That is simply not the truth. Numbers don’t lie, they are among the best in the league offensively. I know it feels funny to say, Predators a top offense, but they did improve drastically. They needed an offense to put them over the edge and that is what they have received. I see no less than a push by taking the OVER 5. I see us getting enough goals to fulfill my prediction. Note the early afternoon start time.
PICK: OVER 5 GOALS (-125)