After a tense week of games featuring likely upcoming playoff opponents, the Nashville Predators can look ahead to facing three teams against whom they may not be quite as concerned about game-planning. Line combinations, defense pairings, and overall team play will be worth watching as the Preds aim to keep things humming after going 3-0-1 last week.
So let's take a look at what's next on the menu...
Monday vs. Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles comes to Bridgestone Arena sporting their shiny new toy, center Jeff Carter, obtained via trade from Columbus. The question is, will they make any other moves prior to this game, like trading away their captain Dustin Brown? While they linger on the bring of the playoffs (two points out with a game in hand as of this writing), the Kings have been a massive disappointment this season.
#77 / Center / Los Angeles Kings
Jan 01, 1985
|2011 - Jeff Carter||40||15||10||25||-11||14||8||0||1||134||11.1|
Tuesday at Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes have been another under-performing squad, in last place of the Eastern Conference for most of the season, having only recently passed up Montreal to vacate the basement. Unlike many other teams in such a position, however, the Canes have locked up a number of their upcoming free agents with new contracts, rather than ship them out for picks & prospects via trade. Tim Gleason and Tuomo Ruutu could have been among the most coveted players on the market, but instead they'll be part of Carolina's future.
#15 / Left Wing / Carolina Hurricanes
Feb 16, 1983
|2011 - Tuomo Ruutu||57||17||13||30||+3||40||2||0||1||128||13.2|
Saturday at Florida Panthers
The Southeast Division has been surprising all season long, and the Florida Panthers have found themselves in the thick of a 3-team fight for what might be that division's only playoff spot. Can the addition of former role players from Nashville help lead Florida back to the playoffs for the first time in 12 years?
#57 / Center / Florida Panthers
Aug 24, 1983
|2011 - Marcel Goc||36||5||10||15||+1||6||2||0||1||54||9.3|
So what are your expectations for this week?