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Wednesday's notes: Are the Predators a playoff dark horse?

Sure, Predators fans, nobody's happy about seeing the team shut out twice in a row on home ice, but let's keep some perspective. The month of March (11-5-1) was incredibly successful, and two key forwards (Martin Erat and Joel Ward) just returned to the lineup last night.

Reminder: I'll be guest co-hosting Hockeybuzz Radio tonight with Paul McCann, live from Dave & Busters at Opry Mills from 6:00-7:00 on WNSR. Guests will include Craig Custance of the Sporting News, St. Louis Blues analyst and former NHL goaltender Darren Pang, and Milwaukee Admirals radio play-by-play man Aaron Sims.

After the jump, we've got one writer looking at Nashville as a potential dark horse in the Western Conference, an egregious offense to the hockey gods in Chicago, and a whole lot more...

Predators News

Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators are sneaky-hot - ProHockeyTalk
Are the Preds the best-kept secret in the Western Conference? James O'Brien makes that argument, in light of how everyone is fawning over the Red Wings' surge.

Long Term Contracts – Part I | Pro Sports Blogging
Dave Gutzman's obviously been hitting the crack pipe pretty hard, but wow, the visions he's having...

The View from 111: Kings End Losing Streak to Predators With 2-0 Win
Mark's looking ahead to the final four games of the season, rather than back at last night's loss.

Preds On The Glass: Game Recap: Kings Break Streaks, Beat Preds 2-0
Buddy's recap has the post-game audio, so you can hear just how sapped of energy the guys were last night.

What The Puck: Los Angeles at Nashville: L 2-0
Rachel makes a deal - if the Preds bring a better effort Thursday, the fans will, too.

Preds Scorers Shutout Again as Kings Win 2-0 in Nashville - Brandon Felder
Brandon puts some of the blame on the "pass first, pass second, and pass third" mindset that the Preds fall into on occasion.

POD 3/31/10 at OnNashville | The Tennessean's Blog Directory
A prolific Predator makes the cut for OnNashville's picture of the day...

Postgame ponderings - Predators Insider
John Glennon chronicles the Preds' recent scoring funk, and notes the fact that Nick Spaling played last night over Cal O'Reilly.

Around the NHL

Blackhawks fans snort in disgust at Toews/pig nose mural - Puck Daddy
This is phenomenal. Chicago once again starts celebrating way before this generation of Blackhawks have won a Stanley Cup, with a hilariously awful mural on public display.

American Hockey Fan: Hit up Sean Avery's Bar Tonight
Ritch files a report from Sean Avery's bar in New York City...

Phoenix Coyotes: WTF? - Behind The Net
The Coyotes are a great story, but there's good reason to believe that they're not the elite contender that their point totals would indicate.

Expect These Playoff Newcomers To Excel In The Second Season - From The Rink
Cory hand-picks six playoff newbies who he expects to do well.

All Habs: Habs' Metropolit has shoulder injury, out 6-8 weeks
The former Nashville Knight's season is basically over after taking a hard hit against New Jersey.

The Blame Game: Calgary Flames
How did Calgary underachieve this season? Let Matt Reitz count the ways...

Good night: Uh oh | The Two-Line Pass
The Blackhawks' losing ways continue... should they be taken seriously or are they just cruising until the playoffs?

Josh Harding - torn labrum, surgery likely - Hockey Wilderness
The Minnesota goalie suffers a severe injury that will keep him busy in the summer recovering from it.

Mission accomplished! It's Hall or Seguin for the Oilers, for sure. - Cult of Hockey
The Edmonton Oilers have clinched last place in the NHL, assuring themselves, at worst, of the #2 pick in the draft.

Zanonisms - Hockey Wilderness
Those wacky Minnesota fans really love Greg Zanon...

Down Goes Brown: ESPN's NHL player survey: The missing questions
DGB gets the inside scoop on what hockey players think about a number of controversial NHL topics.