The Detroit Red Wings are the only Western Conference team that hasn’t suffered three consecutive losses.
Given the Red Wings’ home dominance over Nashville, a matchup with the Predators at Joe Louis Arena could be what they need to avoid a three-game losing streak Wednesday night.
After suffering back-to-back defeats just once through its first 23 games, Detroit fell 3-2 in overtime to Los Angeles in Saturday night’s finale of a three-game road trip and 5-2 to San Jose in its return home Monday night.
“We were good for 20 minutes,” coach Mike Babcock said. “The team that worked the hardest and played the hardest won. … You can’t turn over pucks and lose battles and be successful.”
Detroit had been 7-0-1 in its previous eight home games.
The Red Wings haven’t suffered too many losses at Joe Louis - in regulation or otherwise - over the past 12 seasons against the Predators, going 25-4-5 with two ties.
Datsyuk, who has four goals and nine assists in his past seven home games against Nashville, will try to help his team remain one of three clubs to avoid three straight defeats this season. Montreal and Boston are the others.
Nashville, meanwhile, comes into this matchup after missing out on a season-high fourth straight win Monday night. The Predators (12-8-6) wasted a 2-0 lead after one period in a 3-2 overtime defeat at Atlanta, losing 36 of 51 faceoffs.
“They got both of their goals off faceoffs,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We were only 29 percent. That’s not very good. They started with the puck a lot of time, and a lot of times it’s in the offensive zone and that’s always dangerous.”
The Predators are winning 49.8 percent of their draws this season, while the Red Wings are claiming 51.7 percent of theirs.
With Rinne expected to miss at least two more weeks, Anders Lindback(notes) will likely get most of the starts with Mark Dekanich(notes) serving as the backup. Lindback has made two of his seven career starts in Rinne’s absence, and Dekanich has yet to play in an NHL game.
While neither of Nashville’s goaltenders have faced Detroit, the Red Wings’ Jimmy Howard(notes) is 3-0-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average in five career appearances against the Predators. Chris Osgood(notes) has earned consecutive wins over Nashville, including the victory Oct. 30.
The Predators, 1-3-2 in their last six matchups with the Red Wings, have at least one point in five straight contests but have lost three of four on the road.