Nashville Predators @ Detroit Red Wings – Joe Louis Arena at 00:30
For my second NHL Handicap Preview of the week I’ll be following the Predators against the Red Wings. I’ll be looking to get back to winning ways following my close shave in my previous prediction.
The Subban Era
The biggest trade in the offseason was the Weber-Subban deal that saw them go to Montreal and Nashville respectively. I personally believe that the Predators won this deal hands down. Not just on the ice, but off it too. Subban has the biggest personality in the league and he’ll bring more fans into the arena. It’s quite reminiscent of Gretzky’s move to LA and the legacy that he left there. He has settled in well so far and has 2 points in 3 games as he acclimatises to life in the American South.
Nashville have one of the most lauded defensive cores in the game, however it’s the offense that remains uncertain. They have scored seven goals in three games, which may sound solid nevertheless only two of them have been at even strength. Coming into this season secondary scoring has been a major concern for the Preds. Other than James Neal and Filip Forsberg, Peter Laviolette’s side do not have consistent legitimate scorers. Mike Ribeiro is in his twilight years at 36 years of age. The veteran still had a solid year last season with 50 points in 81 games. Players such as Craig Smith, Colin Wilson and Calle Jarnkrok will be looking to get to that 40-50 point plateau for the season.
25 Years and Counting
The Detroit Red Wings are one of the more storied franchises of the NHL. They are the most successful American team in the league with 11 Stanley Cups. To tie in with their history of tradition, Detroit have the longest active playoff streak in all of the North American professional sports, with 25 years of consecutive post season appearances.
The past couple of years have been tricky in Michigan. Last year, long-time head coach Mike Babcock moved to rivals Toronto. They have also been in a transitional period for a couple of years now with the Datsyuk-Zetterberg era well past it’s prime now. In the off-season Datsyuk moved back to Russia and ended his 15-year tenure in Hockeytown. Like the aforementioned Zetterberg, the Magicman has been plagued with injuries over the past couple of seasons. Captain Zetterberg will be looking to have a bounce back year, having slumped terribly as the season progressed. He only scored 50 points in 82. That’s his worst points total since 03-04.
Next Generation in Hockeytown
Although one of the more prominent faces of the Red Wings has departed, there is a new wave of prospects making noise in Detroit. None more so than hometown boy Dylan Larkin. In his rookie season last year, he emerged as one of the most elusive skaters in the game and also played in the all-star game. He could potentially be the face of the franchise if he builds on from his successful first year. Tomas Tatar had a solid year with 58 points in 78 games. The Slovak was also integral to the unfancied Team Europe’s march to the final in the World Cup of Hockey last month. On a personal note I’ll be keeping a close eye on the progression of Anthony Mantha. The power forward was highly rated when he was drafted 3 years ago and has taken a while to get going. Although he has started the AHL season on fire with 5 goals in 3 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Both teams will be looking to kick off their beleaguered campaigns. Detroit are on a 2-game winning streak and I fancy them to extend it especially with great value on the market.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Detroit -0.5 at 2.64 excluding OT
Prices correct at time of writing,
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