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Playoff Hunt: The Week Ahead In the West

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
We've entered the final 15 games of the season for all teams in the Western Conference playoff race and four points seperates fourth place -- and home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs -- from 10th place -- and out of the playoffs. The races for the final playoff slots seem destined to remain tight through end of the '10-11 regular season.

We're tracking all teams within five points of the Preds in the conference standings heading into this Monday's games.

Team Points* Adjusted Wins^ Games Remaining* Max Pts** This Week's Schedule
#4 Los Angeles 83 32 13 (8H/5A) 109 Tue at NSH, Thu vs. STL
#5 Phoenix 83 32 12 (7H/5A) 107 Tue at CGY, Thu at EDM, Fri at VAN
#6 Dallas 82 32 13 (6H/7A) 108 Tue vs. SJ, Thu vs. CHI
#7 Chicago 82 32 13 (6H/7A) 108 Mon vs. SJ, Thu at DAL
#8 Calgary 81 29 11 (5H/6A) 103 Tue vs. PHX, Thu vs. COL
#9 Nashville 80 29 13 (101H/3A) 106 Tue vs. LA, Thu vs. BOS
#10 Anaheim 79 33 13 (6H/7A) 105 Wed vs. STL
#11 Minnesota 77 33 13 (7H/6A) 103 Mon at VAN, Thu at SJ
* as of all games played on Sun, March 13     ^ the first tie-breaker is regulation/OT wins (excluding shootout wins)
** the most points a team can finish with in the '10-11 regular season (based on games played as of Sun, March 13)

Noteable: Pay attention on Tuesday and Thursday this week -- 7 of the 8 teams along the Conference playoff bubble are in action Thursday (the lone exception is Anaheim which plays on Wednesday) and 5 of the 8 are in action on Tuesday ... There is just one out-of-conference match-ups in this week's mix with Nashville hosting Boston on Thursday ... There are three head-to-head match-ups involving teams in the playoff pack: Los Angeles at Nashville on Tuesday, Phoenix at Calgary on Tuesday, and Chicago at Dallas on Thursday ... Two teams in the watch will participate in back-to-back contests during the mid-week: Chicago closes out a back-to-back set on Monday night (home for San Jose after playing at Washington on Sunday);  Phoenix plays at Edmonton on Thursday and at Vancouver on Friday.

The Week That Was: The last week turned out to be a solid one for the Preds; at 2-0-1 on the week, of the non-division leaders in the Conference playoff bunch, only Los Angeles (3-0-1) had a more productive week. Phoenix also went 2-0-1. Dallas earned five points on the week, but did so in one more game (2-1-1), burning the game at hand it had on the Preds. Anaheim posted a 2-2-0, while Calgary (1-2-0), Chicago (0-1-2), and Minnesota (1-2-0) each earned just two points on the week.

Looking For Help From the Top: Western Conference division leaders play five games against teams in the playoff pack during the mid-week. San Jose opens the week with a back-to-back at Chicago (Monday) and at Dallas (Tuesday), before hosting Minnesota (Thursday). Vancouver hosts Minnesota (Monday) and Phoenix (Friday).
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