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At Stake Tonight... (April 9)

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Including tonight's action there are only three more days left in the 2009-10 NHL Regular Season. looks at the Western Conference games scheduled for tonight, Thursday, April 8, with a synopsis of what's at stake for the Preds. Click here for more on the Conference Standings, Remaining Schedules, and Tie Breakers.

The Preds are still alive for the No. 5 - 7 seeds, but need some help to finish ahead of both Detroit and/or LA. Phoenix helped Nashville's cause last night by rallying to beat Los Angeles in a shootout.

Feel free to post your thoughts and comments at the bottom of this article.

Detroit at Columbus
What's At Stake: Detroit is playoff-bound; Columbus is eliminated from playoff contention. The Red Wings are tied with the Preds and LA Kings -- all three at 98 points. Those three will finish in the No. 5, No. 6, and No. 7 seeds, but the order is still to be determined. A point tonight and Detroit would leapfrog Los Angeles into the No. 5 seed, however a regulation loss and Detroit would fall behind Nashville into the No. 7 seed. Columbus enters tonight's games tied for the No. 5 slot in the draft lottery, but can fall as low as the No. 3 slot in the lottery or rise as high as a tie for the No. 6 slot.
From the Preds View: This is a big game in determining where the Preds will end up seeded in the Western Conference. Detroit enters play tonight one spot ahead of the Preds in the conference standings, but that is only because the Wings have played one fewer game. A Detroit loss -- either in regulation or overtime/shootout -- helps Nashville's chances to remain ahead of the Wings in the final standings; a regulation loss for the Wings would allow the Preds to control their own destiny in relation to Detroit (with a Detroit loss tonight and a Nashville win tomorrow night, the Preds would secure no worse than the No. 6 seed in the conference).

Chicago at Colorado
What's At Stake: Both teams are heading to the playoffs. Colorado is locked into the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, while Chicago is in a battle with San Jose for the No. 1/No. 2 seed in the Conference. With a win tonight Chicago would move back into a tie with San Jose for the No. 1 seed in the Conference heading into the season finales this weekend. This could be a preview of a First Round playoff match-up, so there may be some "message sending" in the game.
From the Preds View: The Preds don't have an immediate stake in this game, but since the Hawks could be a potential First Round playoff opponent for the Preds, there is a passing interest in the outcome.

Anaheim at St. Louis
What's At Stake: Both teams are eliminated from playoff contention, so not a lot at stake for either squad. This is the home finale for St. Louis, so there's always team pride at stake in finales. Anaheim and St. Louis are tied in the standings, so the result tonight will have a direct impact on draft positioning for both squads.
From the Preds View: The Predators don't have an immediate stake in this game, but seeing as Nashville hosts St. Louis tomorrow night, tonight's game may be an indicator as to how focused the Blues remain.

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