Including tonight's action there are only nine more days left in the 2009-10 NHL Regular Season. NashvillePredators.com looks at the Western Conference games scheduled for tonight, Saturday, April 3, with a synopsis of what's at stake for the Preds. Click here for more on the Conference Standings, Remaining Schedules, and Tie Breakers.
Feel free to post your thoughts and comments at the bottom of this article.
Washington at Columbus What's At Stake: Washington has already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Columbus is already eliminated from playoff contention in the Western Conference. The Caps have a magic number of three points to clinch the best record in the NHL. The Blue Jackets are currently in the No. 7 draft slot; mathematically they can still finish anywhere in the No. 2 -13 spots (though they appear pretty well locked into the No. 5-10 range). From the Preds View: The Predators have nothing immediate at stake in this game.
Dallas at St. Louis What's At Stake: Dallas is currently in 10th place in the Conference, five points out of eighth place with a tragic number of three points until they are eliminated from playoff contention. St. Louis is currently tied for 11th, one point behind Dallas with a game at hand; the Blues have a tragic number of five points until they are eliminated from playoff contention. A loss -- particularly a regulation loss -- would be devastating to either team's playoff chances. From the Preds View: Neither team can catch the Predators, so there's not much at skate for the Preds. Nashville closes out the season with a home game against the Blues next Saturday night; if that's a "must win" game for St. Louis, the game might have a different tone than if the Blues are eliminated from playoff consideration, but that's stretching to find a Preds tie-in to this game.
Edmonton at Phoenix What's At Stake: Phoenix has already secured a playoff spot and Edmonton is already eliminated from playoff contention, so the game has no effect on playoff participants, however Phoenix has a magic number of five points to secure home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. The Coyotes still have an outside chance to win the Pacific Division, but need a lot of results to go right. Edmonton will enter the NHL Draft Lottery with the No. 1 slot regardless of results the rest of the way through. From the Preds View: Phoenix has 100 points; if the Preds win out they can finish with 102 points, so it is still possible -- though unlikely -- for Nashville to pass Phoenix in the standings.
Anaheim at Los Angeles What's At Stake: Los Angeles is currently in seventh place in the Conference, five points ahead of eighth place Colorado and ninth place Calgary. The Kings have a magic number of four points to clinch a playoff spot. Anaheim enters today's games tied for 11th place in the Conference, six points out of the playoffs. The Ducks have a tragic number of five points until they are eliminated from playoff contention. From the Preds View: Anaheim can't catch the Predators, but can help Nashville's cause with a win. If Los Angeles wins out it will finish with 104 points; if Nashville wins out it will finish with 102 points, so the Preds need some help somewhere along the line to remain ahead of the Kings.