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Western Conference scoreboard watch - March 7, 2011

Since the Nashville Predators aren't exactly helping themselves on the ice (2-5-1 in their last 8), those out-of-town scores take on greater and greater importance with each passing day. So put a pot of coffee on and keep an eye on these two late-starting contests...

Columbus Blue Jackets vs St. Louis Blues (8:00 p.m. Central)
While they've stumbled lately, the Blue Jackets aren't too far behind the Preds, considering they hold two games in hand. St. Louis, however, is in a free-fall, having lost 4 straight and 7 out of their last 8.

Dallas Stars vs Los Angeles Kings (9:30 p.m. Central)
This battle between the #7 & 8 teams in the West needs to finish in regulation. The Kings are wrapping up a 6-game home stand during which they've gone 3-2 so far, while the Stars have rebounded from a 5-game losing streak to go 4-0-1 since then.