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Preds, Thrashers look to end skids

by Brian Compton
PREDATORS (35-25-5) at THRASHERS (28-26-10)

Last 10: Nashville 5-4-1; Atlanta 4-4-2.

Season Series: This is the second and final meeting between the teams. They last faced each other on Jan. 30 in Nashville, when the Predators eked out a 4-3 victory.

Big Story: While they compete in separate conferences, both teams are in a dogfight to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Nashville is currently in playoff position as it sits in seventh place in the Western Conference with 75 points, but Atlanta trails the Boston Bruins by three points for the final spot in the East.

Team Scope:

Predators: After opening the month with back-to-back victories, Nashville will attempt to stop a two-game skid on Tuesday night. The Preds' most recent defeat came on Sunday, when they suffered a 4-2 setback on home ice against the Vancouver Canucks. Nashville held a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes but allowed three goals in the third period and lost for just the third time this season when leading after two.

"I thought we were pretty solid for the most part," Preds coach Barry Trotz said. "They're going to get a few chances because they are a good team. We were in scramble mode after their second goal. With the third goal, you have to play with more risk to get it back."

Thrashers: Atlanta finds itself in the same boat as its opponent -- the Thrashers began March with two straight victories, but they also enter Tuesday's action having lost two in a row. Atlanta was blanked on Sunday in a 4-0 loss at home against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"You'd like to think that after you lose one you can bounce back as a group and we didn't do that," forward Colby Armstrong said. "It's important right now with what we have to show up after we drop one and stay in that hunt and we kind of kicked ourselves in the butt and shot ourselves in the foot. We didn't really execute anything. We were sloppy. It took us a period and a half to get going a little bit."

Who's Hot: Nashville forward Martin Erat has five points in his last five games and 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) in 34 games since Dec. 2. ... Thrashers forward Nik Antropov has 12 points in his last eight contests.

Injury Report: Shea Weber, a world-class defenseman for Nashville, is not expected to play after suffering an upper-body injury against Detroit last Friday. … Thrashers defenseman Boris Valabik is done for the season due to a torn ACL.

Stat Pack: If the Thrashers don't make the playoffs, they can't blame the schedule. Twelve of their 17 games this month will take place at Philips Arena.

Puck Drop: "Down the stretch we are going to need good goalkeeping, plain and simple. Any team that is going to make the playoffs is going to need good goalkeeping. Both of our guys are capable of that." -- Predators coach Barry Trotz
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