The Drive for Five (straight playoff berths) is still alive, after a wild week of Nashville Predators action...
- The Preds locked up the key 14,000 paid attendance mark, based on a report from the Tennessean on Monday and a projection for games remaining. As a validation of that thinking, the paper's update today showed an average paid number of 14,101, not including the final two home games. It seems likely that the final result will be somewhere around 14,200 or so.
- As St. Louis battled right alongside Nashville for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs, critics noticed that the Central Division had a shot at qualifying all five teams for the postseason. As Anaheim has surged, however, it looks like either the Blues or Preds will make the playoffs, but not both.
- The weekly Penalty Plus/Minus update featured Sean Avery, due to the question raised by some around the New York Rangers that officials were treating him unfairly due to his reputation. The numbers seemed to undermine that notion, based on the fact that he's drawn more penalties than he's been called for.
- As if the team trainer wasn't already busy enough, Antti Pihlstrom hit the injured list with an upper body injury that kept him out of the week's games. Jed Ortmeyer was called up from Milwaukee to fill his roster spot.
- Nashville's 5-0-3 streak was halted Tuesday night in Columbus, as the Blue Jackets won a tough 2-1 battle.
- For April Fool's Day, Brandon Felder broke the news that Dan Ellis was going to fill in at forward to cover for all the injuries up front.
- Two Predators prospects in Milwaukee were named to the AHL's Second All-Star Team.
- Word came that Ron Wilson, as big a villain as exists in the NHL for Nashville fans, is about to be named coach of Team USA for the Winter Olympics in 2010.
- The Preds dropped another tough decision in Chicago, a 3-1 loss that featured more gritty defensive play, and just not enough offense to keep up with the Blackhawks.
- As the playoff outlook became dire, Jason Arnott declared himself fit for duty prior to Saturday's home game with Columbus. He then played a key role in a dramatic 5-4 shootout win.
And your Three Stars of the Week?
#3: Joel Ward: With two assists and a team-high 12 shots during the week, Ward stepped up into a larger role when the Preds desperately needed it.
#2: Cal O'Reilly: Scored the only goal in the Columbus and Chicago games.
#1: Jason Arnott: he came through like a true captain, returning from injury with two goals and an assist in a critical home game against the Blue Jackets to keep the Preds' playoff hopes alive.
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