by Forechecker on 02/18/09 at 05:01 PM ET
Having given away a two-point opportunity against the Ottawa Senators Tuesday, the Nashville Predators return to action tonight in Detroit, ahead of a date tomorrow at home against St. Louis, and a road game against the Blues on Saturday (the Wings, meanwhile, are in the middle of a week on home ice). These are the dog days of the NHL schedule, wherein grit and endurance have as much to do with victory as does pure skill, and this critical stretch over the next four days sets up a five-game homestand which will determine whether the Preds are buyers or sellers at the NHL Trading Deadline.
Tennessean update: Dan Ellis gets the start in net, Radek Bonk returns (but might have difficulty with faceoffs), and Wade Belak will be scratched. Ville Koistinen returns to action, in an attempt to bolster the Preds’ pathetic power play.
The matchups on special teams are between extremes: Nashville’s power play is 29th in the league, but Detroit’s PK is 27th. The Red Wing PP is #1, but the Preds boast the #4 PK unit. For Nashville, I say stick Ryan Jones on the top line with Arnott & Dumont; he can crash the net so Dumont will know to just shoot the &*^!ing puck, and he’ll hopefully draw penalties from the Wings defense to boot.
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