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Playoff Hunt: This Weekend In the West

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
With just six weekends remaining in the 2010-11 regular season, check out's sneak peak at the match-ups of immediate concern to the Preds and the Western Conference playoff race.

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

Seed* Team Points* Adjusted Wins^ Games Remaining* Weekend Schedule
#4 Chicago 76 30 18 (7H/11A) Fri vs. CAR, Sat at TOR
#5 Los Angeles 76 29 18 (10H/8A) Sat vs. VAN, Mon vs. DAL
#6 Phoenix 76 30 16 (10H/6A) Sat vs. DET
#7 Nashville 75 27 17 (12H/5A) Sun at CGY
#8 Calgary 75 26 16 (8H/8A) Fri vs. CBJ, Sun vs. NSH
#9 Dallas 74 29 19 (9H/10A) Fri at ANA, Sat at SJ, Mon at LA
#10 Minnesota 74 32 17 (9H/8A) Sun vs. BUF
#11 Anaheim 73 30 18 (10H/8A) Fri vs. DAL, Sun vs. VAN
* as of all games played on Thursday, March 3     ^ the first tie-breaker is regulation/OT wins (excluding shootout wins)

Noteable: There are three out-of-conference match-ups in this weekend's mix with Chicago facing Carolina (Friday) and Toronto (Saturday) back-to-back and Minnesota hosting Buffalo on Sunday ... All three Western Conference division leaders will be in action on Saturday agaist teams in the playoff pack --- Vancouver at Los Angeles, Detroit at Phoenix, and San Jose hosting Dallas ... Dallas rolls through an odd California swing rotating between SoCal and NoCal with games in Anaheim (Friday), San Jose (Saturday), and then back to Los Angeles (Monday).

Changes Brewing For the Pacific: The Pacific Division currently has three teams in a playoff seed with the other two teams entering the weekend within two points of the #8 seed, however the remaining schedule will make it very difficult for all five teams in the division to stay in serious contention for the playoffs -- there are 22 intra-division games scheduled among Pacific Division teams over the final stretch of the season. Dallas and San Jose both have 10 games remaining against divisional foes, while Anaheim and LA have nine remaining and Phoenix has six remaining.

Against the East: Western Conference teams have dominated the inter-conference battle against the East again this season, posting a 129-74-31 record in out-of-conference games (289 to 242 point advantage). Significant to note, though, of the eight teams entering this weekend within five points of the playoff cut line in the West, three have already wrapped up their slate of games against the East (Calgary, Los Angeles, and Phoenix), while Anaheim and Dallas have just one more game against Eastern Conference teams. Nashville has three more games against the East, Minnesota has four more Eastern Conference games, and Chicago has a whopping nine more games versus the East. Columbus -- currently sitting six points out of eighth place in the Western Conference -- has six inter-conference match-ups remaining.
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