The Nashville Predators get back to their regular Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday routine this week, with all three games taking place at Bridgestone Arena, where they've gone 10-0-2 over their last 12 games. That doesn't mean they'll have an easy time - far from it, as a trio of Western Conference teams who are hungry for wins are on the menu...
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Tuesday vs. Los Angeles Kings
The Kings were just here last Monday for a 2-1 Preds victory, and they'll be desperate for points here as they are currently just one point behind Dallas for the 8th and final playoff spot in the West. While the offense has been sluggish in L.A. this season (a rather surprising development given all the talent up front there), the goaltending has been rock solid, so we could be in for another low-scoring affair.
|2011 - Jonathan Quick||55||3244||26||18||11||104||1.92||1528||1424||.932||7|
Thursday vs. Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche are a couple points behind the Kings and have one fewer game remaining, so their playoff hopes are a bit dimmer, but still very much alive.
These days, over at Mile High Hockey they're excited about the play of rookie Gabriel Landeskog, who was just named Rookie of the Month for February:
The rookie's impact on the team's success is unquestionable, and unlike many freshmen players, he has yet to hit a wall. In fact, he continues to get better. As the year goes on, he climbs in the rankings for the Calder, the trophy given to the Rookie of the Year. If he continues to play as he did in February, the young Swede will leave little doubt that he deserves the award.
|2011 - Gabriel Landeskog||66||18||23||41||+20||41||4||0||3||216||8.3|
Saturday vs. Detroit Red Wings
If the Predators still harbor any hopes of winning their first Central Division title, then this game looms as the most important game of the week, their final home-ice battle with the Red Wings. The Preds are 1-3 against Detroit so far this season, and with a six-point deficit to make up on both the Wings and the Blues, there is little margin for error left for Nashville.
The big story to watch right now is when the legendary Nicklas Lidstrom will return to action. He's been out with a deep bone bruise, a rare absence for a guy who has never missed more than 6 games in any one of his 20 NHL seasons.
|2011 - Nicklas Lidstrom||62||10||21||31||+25||24||4||0||0||127||7.9|
So how do you think the Preds will fare this week?