NHL Picks: Predators vs. Red Wings

Joe Catalano

Saturday, February 23, 2013 6:50 PM GMT

The Detroit Red Wings (7-7-3, 17 points) got off to fast start in this abbreviated NHL season but have hit a wall. The Red Wings are on a 5 games losing streak.

They face a formidable foe in the Nashville Predators (8-5-5, 21 points). The Predators sit comfortably in 4th place in the Western Conference, but need to get their offense in gear.

Faceoff is set for 7:05 pm ET on Saturday at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.

The Home Team Gets the Nod

Even during their current losing streak, the Red Wings are a -130 betting favorite and the total for this game is 5.

Can Detroit snap the streak as they see themselves currently residing in the 10th spot in the Western Conference playoff race? This is a shortened season and there’s little margin for error.

Goalie Matchup

My fantasy league instincts kick in and we look for confirmation on who’s in net tonight and we have it.

Pekka Renne starts in goal for Nashville. This is a perfect matchup for him against a Detroit team that he beat earlier in the week. Renne hasn’t been getting the support, but is 3-2-1 with an eye popping 1.38 GAA in his last 6 starts.

Jimmy Howard starts in net for Motown. He’s 6-6-2 this season with a 3.08 GAA and a .898 save %. Howard is winless in his last 4 starts and has is coming off of a 3-2 loss to Columbus in which he stopped 21 out of 24 shots.

Clearly, the advantage goes to Nashville, but will the offense provide enough of a spark will be the question?

Predators?

The Nashville Predators have been more like the Nashville Defenders as they rank 30th in the league at just 2.1 goals per game. Their defense has been their bread and butter, allowing just 1.9 goals per game and is 6th in the league in penalty killing at 85.5%.

Tonight’s game provides opportunity for the Predators offense. Jimmy Howard has been less than spectacular and the Red Wings have been sputtering overall as a team.

Follow the line movements in real time for all of your NHL odds.

[gameodds]7/219110/43/us[/gameodds]

Players To Watch

Defenseman, Shea Weber, has been a beast as of late. In his last 5 games, Weber has tallied 3 goals and 3 assists. This is a physical player that puts constant pressure on the opposing defense. Weber has 19 shots on goal in these 5 games and scored 2 points against Detroit on Tuesday. Look for Weber to be a factor on a team that can’t seem to find the net.

Colin Wilson has also been another source of offense. In the month of February, he has 13 points in 11 games. Wilson is an accurate shooter that’s not going to pepper the goalie with a barrage of shots.

Wilson and Weber will need a strong game as left winger, Martin Erat, is going through a major slump and can’t be counted on.

Pavel Datsyuk

Renne and the Predators defense will surely be aware of center, Pavel Datsyuk. In their last meeting, Datsyuk had a goal and an assist against the Predators along with 7 shots on goal. This is a player that knows how to put pressure on the opposing defense.

Head to Head Trends

Predators are 5-2 in the last 7 meetings in Detroit

Predators are 4-0 in the last 4 meetings

Under is 5-1-4 in the last 10 meetings

Outcome

Nashville is clearly the better hockey team in this matchup. Detroit has been really slumping lately and look for it to continue as Pekka Renne dominates between the pipes. Take the live dog in Nashville.

NHL Picks:  Nashville - +110 at 5 Dimes for your NHL picks.

Get the NHL Picks of the Day to stay upwind of the books!