Detroit attempts to avoid consecutive home losses for the second time this season and a third straight overall defeat on Wednesday night when it faces Nashville.
The Red Wings bounced back from an 0-4-1 skid with a six-game win streak to open February, but has since dropped two in a row, including a 6-5 shootout loss to visiting Colorado on Sunday.
Given their 8-1-1 home record versus the Predators dating back to Feb. 8, 2006, the Red Wings have a good chance to stave off their first home losing streak since an 0-1-1 start at Joe Louis Arena from Oct. 9-16.
In its past 10 home meetings with Nashville, Detroit has posted three shutouts and hasn’t allowed more than three goals in any of those games. That’s happened just twice in 29 all-time meetings at Joe Louis, with the Red Wings going 21-3-3 with two ties.
However, goaltending has not been one of Detroit’s strengths this season, giving up 2.91 goals per game to rank in the bottom half of the league, though the Red Wings remain in a tight battle with San Jose for Western Conference’s best record.
Two days after giving up the tiebreaking goal with 6:55 to play in a 3-2 loss at Columbus, Chris Osgood couldn’t hang on to a pair of one-goal leads in the third period Sunday and let in two of five shootout attempts.
“We should have found a way to win, but we didn’t,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “You got to make sure you don’t give up any opportunities. (The Avalanche) were able to get an opportunity.”
After making three consecutive starts, Osgood is expected to sit in place of Ty Conklin, who has won three straight and is 3-2-1 in eight appearances against Nashville. Conklin stopped 18 shots in a 5-3 road win over the Predators last Tuesday, but suffered a 3-2 loss at Nashville on Dec. 26.
The Red Wings offense has normally made up for any defensive lapses this season, scoring a league-best 209 goals, including 25 in five home games this month.
Marian Hossa, among the NHL leaders with 33 goals, has scored nine times in Detroit’s last eight games overall (6-1-1), including a goal last week at Nashville. Teammate Jiri Hudler enters Wednesday on a four-game point streak.
Following consecutive shootout victories, the Predators (27-27-3) fell flat in Monday night’s 2-0 loss to visiting Ottawa, managing only eight shots in each period. Nashville gave up two goals in the first period for the fourth time in five games.
“We came out and stood around and watched a team that is playing very well right now,” said Nashville coach Barry Trotz, whose team is 2-3-0 since its season-high, four-game win streak. “We’ve done that four of our last five games … That’s not a good recipe.”
The Predators have not allowed a power-play goal in three straight games and seven of nine, but they are 2-for-35 with the man advantage over the last 10.