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Game Day Blog: Preds at Florida Panthers

by Tom Callahan / Nashville Predators
Game Day Preview

Nashville Predators @ Florida Panthers
BankAtlantic Center, 6:30 pm CST
None  |  Radio: 104.5 The Zone, Predators Radio Network

Tonight’s is a pretty simple pre-game analysis if you’re the Predators: you must have the two points up for grabs tonight. There’s simply no other way to put it.

Coming in against a Panthers team that has struggled this season and now has lost David Booth for the remainder of the year thanks to a second concussion, Nashville has a chance to keep itself in fifth place out West. Ahead of Detroit, LA, and Colorado, who all have a game or two in hand over the Preds.

There’s not much sunshine in Sunrise these days, where the Panthers have gotten only one win in Tomas Vokoun’s last seven starts. So tonight he sits, while Scott Clemmensen gets the nod after posting wins in his last two outings. Booth is gone again after returning from a serious concussion earlier in the year, and will miss the remainder of the season with just 28 games logged for 2009-10.

Panthers’ head coach Peter DeBoer didn’t pull any punches when I chatted with him this morning, saying he knows there are guys out there who bring their game and compete every night, but he feels there are several more who do not, and those players either need to show they want to play for this club or could be seeking a new home before too long. From that standpoint, with the Panthers out of any serious playoff talk, it will be interesting to see who indeed does compete for this team tonight.

As far as Nashville goes, it may be the right time to have to play without Jason Arnott, Joel Ward, and Martin Erat. Erat did not make the trip after experiencing swelling and discomfort after the game against Detroit in which he and Tomas Holmstrom got tangled up and fell to the ice awkwardly. His status is day-to-day. Ward is expected to return this week, perhaps as soon as tomorrow. Arnott is still a day-to-day situation as well depending on how he feels.

  • Nashville’s magic number is five – that is a combination of five points from Calgary losses and Preds wins.
  • Nashville has six games left, while Detroit and Colorado have seven and the Kings have eight.
  • Stephen Weiss has 26 goals this year, a career high. He shattered his previous mark of 20 back on February 13th against Boston.

Keys to the Game
  • Don’t let Florida think they’re in this game. Step on them hard. Step on them early.
  • Bother Clemmensen. He’s the shot they have at winning. Pelt him with shots from everywhere and traffic from everywhere else.
  • Be smart and stay out of the box.
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