The Nashville Predators' Week Ahead: Clinging to Hope

With only four games remaining in the 2013-14 NHL Regular Season, the Nashville Predators still have a glimmer of a sliver of an inkling of a hope of a chance at making the playoffs, so at least we get the opportunity to see the younger players play in meaningful hockey games down the stretch.

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In a nutshell, Nashville needs to go at least 3-0-1 over the final four games while seeing Dallas and Phoenix both flop down the stretch, so let's examine the road ahead:

Tuesday @ Dallas Stars

The week begins with the wrap-up of a three-game road trip which has seen impressive victories at Anaheim and San Jose already. As the team currently holding down the final playoff spot, the Stars need only two points in their final four games to freeze out Nashville, so this game is quite literally a "do or die" one for the Predators.

So far this season the teams have split the four games they've played against each other.

Thursday vs Phoenix Coyotes

The Coyotes are another team the Preds would have to pass on the way to the playoffs, so if they survive Tuesday's game the atmosphere during Fan Appreciation Night could be especially intense. The Coyotes are right on the Stars' heels, but they've also lost four straight games, not exactly the best way to make your drive to the playoffs.

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Saturday vs Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks appear set for a first-round playoff matchup against the Colorado Avalanche, but home-ice advantage in that series is very much up for grabs, so Chicago will be motivated to win this game. They'll have to do so without captain Jonathan Toews, however, who has been shut down until the start of the playoffs after taking a big hit from Pittsburgh's Brooks Orpik.

So... who still believes?

How many points will the Nashville Predators earn this week?