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After blowing a chance to wrap up a playoff berth in their last game, the Nashville Predators will try again - this time against the team with the most home wins in the league this season.
The Predators (47-21-6) will try to continue their recent dominance of the Calgary Flames (38-25-10) when the teams meet on Thursday night in their season series finale.
Nashville lost 2-0 to Vancouver on Wednesday night. Despite their third loss in four games, the Predators remained on top of the Western Conference with 100 points - one ahead of Detroit, winners of five straight Central Division titles.
Nashville, though, did fall a point behind Buffalo, which beat Washington 5-2, for the league's best record. The Red Wings host lowly Columbus on Thursday night.
But if recent history is any indication, the Predators have a good chance at reaching the postseason on Thursday. Nashville has won eight straight against the Flames, outscoring them 35-18.
The injury-plagued Predators dressed seven defenseman and just 11 forwards against the Canucks. Steve Sullivan (back), Scott Nichol (thumb), Martin Erat (knee) and Scott Hartnell (foot) all sat out, as did Jordin Tootoo, who served the first game of a five-game league-imposed suspension for punching out Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas on Saturday night. Those players have combined 70 of the Predators' 249 goals this season.
"The first period we played in our zone," said Nashville center Peter Forsberg, who played in his second game after missing six with an upper body injury. "We got caught trying to make plays. We turned the puck over numerous times and there were a lot of defensive coverage mistakes."
The Flames are 29-7-2 at home this season, but have split their last for games at Pengrowth Saddledome and are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. With 86 points, Calgary is four points ahead of surging Colorado, 9-0-1 in its last 10 games.
"With nine (games) left, we've got to get it going now, and Colorado's played so well," center Craig Conroy told the Flames' official Web site. Both teams have played 73 games, and will meet for the final time in the regular season on April 3 in Calgary.
The Flames snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over Detroit on Tuesday. After drawing a first-period assist, Kristian Huselius scored the game-winner in the second for the Flames.
"It was a big game and we came through," said goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 30 saves for his league-leading 27th home win. "We know we're able to play well and today was a really strong game from us."
Daymond Langkow scored his 30th goal, giving the Flames three 30-goal scorers for the first time since Gary Roberts (41), Theo Fleury (40) and Robert Reichel (40) in 1993-94. Jarome Iginla has 34 goals and Huselius is second with a career-high 31.
"In this room we believe it, and now we've got to go out and prove it. Tonight, we were able to do it and now we have to come back against Nashville," Conroy told the team's site.