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Tuesday's news: Playoff hockey hits Nashville

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The Nashville Predators are getting ready to host playoff hockey tonight and Thursday at Bridgestone Arena, and for die-hard fans, it's a welcome return for the most exciting action in professional sports. Can the Preds capitalize on that enthusiasm to take over this series?

After the jump, we have some analysis as to what the Preds need to do tonight in Game 3, word that Blake Geoffrion left last night's Milwaukee Admirals game with a leg injury, and two different cases as to why it's not worth spending big money on NHL goaltending...

Last Night in the Playoffs

Washington 5, Montreal 1: The Caps exploded to take a 2-1 series lead on the Habs' home ice.

Boston 2, Buffalo 1: The #6 seed has jumped out in front of this series, thanks to a late Patrice Bergeron goal.

Los Angeles 5, Vancouver 3: The Kings got two goals from Michal Handzus to pull ahead of the Canucks in Game 3.

Predators News

Preds On The Glass: Predators Ready to Host the Blackhawks and Tuesday Tidbits
Pity our good friend Buddy - he's going to miss tonight's game...

Preds get away from successful formula, fall to Hawks… | Section 303
Jeremy wants to see the Preds fire early and often on Antti Niemi in the Chicago net.

The View from 111: An Analysis of the Predators Season Attendance Numbers
Mark looks at the long-term trend in Preds attendance. - Making Memories
The NHLPA features J.P. Dumont's career, going back to his sensational days with Val D'Or of the QMJHL.

Blake Geoffrion Injures Leg; Leaves Game - JSOnline
Yikes!!! Actually, he said after the game on Twitter that he's fine.

Hornqvist keeps quiet about his health and his status for Game 3 - Nashville City Paper
Like I said yesterday, we won't know if Patric Hornqvist will play tonight until game time. The NHL's unique policy of not disclosing injury information leaves us all in the dark.

Rinne brings a regular-season mindset to his first NHL playoffs - Nashville City Paper
It's business as usual these days for Peks, and that's a good thing.

Nashville Predators' forechecking breaks down in Game 2 loss to Chicago Blackhawks - The Tennessean
It's good to see that the Preds are paying attention to my keys to the series.

Nashville Predators hope to feed off fans' energy for Game 2 against Chicago Blackhawks - The Tennessean
Who cares whether they sell the building out, Preds fans need to rock the Bridgestone Arena tonight.

Around the NHL

Study shows little difference between good, great NHL goalies -
An academic study shows that differences in goaltending are often overstated. I want to read more about this, but I'm inclined to agree, with the caveat that a guy who can perform at a certain level 70 games a year is indeed more valuable than one with similar ability but can only handle half the workload.

Fooled by Randomness: Goaltender Save Percentage - Behind The Net
Here's another way to express the goaltending issue.

Sharks Rally Around Dan Boyle’s Freak Goal - PuckUpdate
Could the own-goal that cost them Game 3 turn into a positive for the Sharks? I doubt it, but at least they're saying all the right things.

Rangers Analysis: Rangers would have Goaltending Advantage if in Playoffs - Blueshirt Banter
How does the old saying go? If "ifs" were fifths, we'd all be drunk.

Doug Risebrough says he is "very interested" in Tampa Bay Lightning's general manager job - Lightning Strikes
Tampa could be a real wildcard next season, with the young talent already in house to be complemented with another high draft pick.

Chad Moreau says Pronger led the Oilers in fitness, but coaches failed to focus on it during season - Cult of Hockey
An interesting kerfuffle over the approach to physical training in Edmonton...

Cue The Offer Sheets For Nicklas Backstrom - From The Rink
Will someone make a run at the Caps' playmaking center as a restricted free agent?

Why I love Steve Rushin | Jeff Pearlman
Some great stuff here about the downside of being a sportswriter. I sympathize with Rushin's interview with Guy LaFleur. After the first NHL game I covered with media access, I followed the mob around the dressing room and asked only one or two meek questions after the prots had done their work and moved on.

NHL again shows why its playoffs blow away the NBA - All Things Avs
Here's a sentiment on which I think we can all agree with Adrian Dater.