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Nashville Predators @ Pittsburgh Penguins Preview: Lucky Number Three?

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The Nashville Predators look to clinch a playoff berth tonight in Pittsburgh.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators squandered their first two chances to secure a playoff spot earlier this week. Tonight, they get their third shot at clinching against the Penguins.

The Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins, like the Predators coming into this week, are one of the hottest teams in the league right now. They have gone 9-1-0 in their last ten games and have won three in a row. In the process of this hot streak, they have placed themselves in third place in their division with a four point lead over the Islanders.

What's more impressive is that they are doing this without the likes of Evgeni Malkin. Malkin is currently ranked third on the team in points scored, but the Penguins have had no problem filling that void in scoring as others have stepped up to the plate.

Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang have essentially put this team on their backs in Malkin's absence. But that shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone. What has helped the Pens is that Phil Kessel has finally started to come on as of late. He has seven points in his last five games and has really found a rhythm in PIttsburgh. If he starts playing like we all know he can, Pittsburgh will be a force to deal with in the playoffs.

PIttsburgh has always found a way to get the job done when one of their big guns have been out, and nothing is different here. They have a way of getting the most out of other guys when they need it. Let's just see if it carries over to the postseason.

The Nashville Predators

This one is going to be pretty short here.

We all know the urgency that Nashville needs to come out with tonight. I would assume that they do not want to go into a slump with just five games remaining on the schedule. I am also certain that they would want to go head and lock up a playoff spot as soon as possible so that is less pressure on them next week.

The last two games weren't all that bad when you look at it. They fell in a hole early in the Avalanche game but were able to claw their way back to make it interesting in the final minutes. And the Dallas game was pretty much a 3-2 game (I don't count the empty net goals). You can't really be too mad about losing to a desperate Colorado team and a pretty good Stars team.

Regardless, the Preds will need to get things going again tonight, and I expect them to do just that.

Drink Of Choice For Game Time

I will be enjoying some Spotted Cow tonight for this one.

Sights And Sounds

FS-TN and 102.5 The Game for local coverage. This game will also be on the NHL Network tonight. Puck drops at 6:00 pm CST.