The Detroit Red Wings are a staple of post-season hockey. They are known for having a talented roster consistently capable of making deep runs within the NHL playoffs. Last season’s playoff run did not go as planned, though, when the Wings found themselves getting bounced in the Conference Quarterfinals by the Nashville Predators in just five games. On Tuesday evening, at 8:00 Eastern, the Red Wings will get a chance to exact a bit of revenge against the Predators when they meet for the first time since that series.
This is only the second time this season that Nashville is playing in back-to-back games and they will be trying to shake off a 5-6 loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche. Traveling from Colorado to Nashville may prove to have an impact on the game play, but the Predators will try to overcome the hardship in order to extend their three point lead over Detroit.
For Detroit, this game needs to be about more than revenge. After winning three games straight earlier in the month, they have now dropped three in a row and have slipped all the way to the ninth spot in the Western Conference. They have little need to make this game about the past when there is such a pressing urgency here in the present. There is very little time to right a sinking ship when there is only 48 games in the shortened season to begin with. They will need to be focused on coming in and getting the job done against a Nashville team that is 6-2-2 in their last 10 games.
Tuesday night also marks the return of former Predator and fan favorite, Jordin Tootoo, who signed with the Wings after the 2012 playoffs came to an end. Tootoo spent the first eight years of his career in Nashville and now enters Bridgestone Arena as the enemy for the first time in his career. It will be interesting to see what type of reception he gets from a crowd that used to love him but now may feel betrayed by his defection to their division rival Detroit Red Wings.
Both the Predators and the Wings find themselves falling further and further behind the division leading Chicago Blackhawks. Detroit is now down by double-digits, trailing Chicago by 11 points and if the Blackhawks continue to play at the level they have been, no one is going to be able to catch them.
The shortened season makes every win, every loss, absolutely critical. There are only so many teams who can make it to the post-season, and only so many games in which to secure a spot. For the Red Wings, revenge becomes a very small part of the much bigger picture, and if they are to have a chance at the playoffs at all, the focus going into Nashville will have to be on snapping their current losing streak and getting back to their winning ways.