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Predators look for rare road win vs. Red Wings

By Alan Ferguson

Stats Writer

Nashville (37-30-8) at Detroit (49-17-9), 5 p.m. EDT

DETROIT (AP) -- The Nashville Predators' road to a fifth

straight postseason berth will take them through Detroit twice.

While the Predators humbled the Red Wings in the previous

meeting, winning at Joe Louis Arena hasn't proved to be easy.

Looking to maintain its spot in a highly contested Western

Conference race, Nashville will try for its second win in 13

trips to Detroit on Sunday.

The Predators (37-30-8) earned a point in their seventh straight

game with Saturday's 4-3 overtime victory over visiting Los

Angeles. After allowing the tying goal with 1:04 to play in

regulation, Steve Sullivan gave Nashville the victory with a

power-play goal at 3:41 of the extra session.

Nashville is in sole possession of seventh place in the West

with 82 points.

"It's taxing our nerves, it's taxing our resiliency, and it's

taxing our character a little bit lately," said Predators coach

Barry Trotz, whose team is 4-0-3 in its last seven. "It has been

a rough week. We have played three games in five nights, and

they have all been emotionally draining in one way or another."

The Predators have seven games remaining, but two will be at Joe

Louis, where they have one win in their last nine regular-season

trips and lost three times in last season's first-round playoff


Nashville begins a three-game road trip Sunday and travels back

to Detroit on April 9 before ending the regular season the next

night in Minnesota.

However, the Predators routed the Red Wings 8-0 at home on Feb.

28, scoring five times in the first 10:48. Rookie Pekka Rinne

stopped 30 shots to hand Detroit its first shutout of the


Nashville captain Jason Arnott had a hat trick in that game, but

Arnott, who has a team-leading 27 goals, hasn't played since

March 10 due to a concussion.

The Predators have taken consecutive victories without David

Legwand, who is expected to miss a third straight game after

getting hit in the face with a puck in practice on Wednesday.

Legwand had scored 20 goals for second time in 10 seasons

Joel Ward has stepped in with five goals and an assist in the

last six games, and Shea Weber has three goals and four assists

in that time.

The Red Wings (49-17-9) failed to capitalize on a chance to take

the Western Conference lead and make history at the start of a

four-game homestand Friday night as the lowly New York Islanders

beat Detroit 2-0.

Former Red Wings goaltender Joey MacDonald stopped 42 shots, and

attempts from Marian Hossa, Valtteri Filppula and Pavel Datsyuk

hit posts or crossbars.

"Early on we didn't play as well as we had to against a team

that played loose, played with confidence," Detroit captain

Nicklas Lidstrom said. "We didn't get skating until later in the

game, and we were down 2-0 at the time."

The Red Wings, who haven't been shut out in consecutive games

since Dec. 15-17, 2001, come into Sunday trying to clinch a

share of their eighth straight Central Division title, and look

to join Boston (1970-74) and Montreal (1975-79) as the only

teams with four consecutive 50-win seasons.

Mike Babcock would become the first coach with four straight

50-win campaigns since Scotty Bowman did it with the Canadiens

in 1979.

Datsyuk has two goals and four assists while Henrik Zetterberg

has three and three in four games against Nashville this season.

The Predators and Red Wings have split those games.


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