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Playoff Hunt: This Week's Key Games

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
Only five weeks left in the '10-11 regular season and the Western Conference playoff picture is still packed with possibilities. Check out's sneak peak at this week's 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 Monday's play.

Seed* Team Points* Adjusted Wins^ Games Remaining* Mid-Week Schedule
#4 Chicago 80 32 16 (6H/10A) Tue at FLA, Wed at TBL
#5 Calgary 79 28 14 (6H/8A) Wed at DAL, Thu at PHX
#6 Phoenix 78 31 15 (9H/6A) Tue vs. VAN, Thu vs CGY
#7 Dallas 77 30 17 (9H/8A) Mon at LA, Wed vs CGY, Fri vs MIN
#8 Los Angeles 76 29 17 (9H/8A) Mon vs. DAL, Wed at DET, Fri at CBJ
#9 Minnesota 75 32 16 (8H/8A) Tue vs. COL, Thu at NSH, Fri at DAL
#10 Anaheim 75 31 16 (8H/8A) Wed vs NYR, Fri at COL
#11 Nashville 75 27 16 (12H/4A) Tue at SJ, Thu vs MIN
* as of all games played on Sunday, March 6     ^ the first tie-breaker is regulation/OT wins (excluding shootout wins)

Head-to-Head: There are five head-to-head match-ups involoving the eight-team pack in the Western Conference. Dallas plays in three of those five games (Monday at LA, Wednesday vs. Calgary, Friday vs. Minnesota), while Calgary (Wednesday-Thursday back-to-back) and Minnesota (Thursday-Friday back-to-back) each plays in two. The five games include: Dallas at Los Angeles on Monday, Calgary at Dallas on Wednesday, Calgary at Phoenix on Thursday, Minnesota at Nashville on Thursday, Minnesota at Dallas on Friday

Last Weekend:
Calgary (2-0-0 wiht two home wins) and Chicago (swept back-to-back set on Friday and Saturday) had good weekends ... Dallas had a strong showing, earning three points in road games at Anaheim and at San Jose ... Rough weekend for the bottom of the Conference as Columbus, St. Louis, and Colorado each lost its lone game of the weekend, dropping further behind the pack.

Against the East: Western Conference teams have dominated the inter-conference battle against the East again this season, posting a 131-75-32 record in out-of-conference games (294 to 246 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 and Minnesota both have three more games against the East and Chicago has a whopping seven more games versus the East. Columbus -- currently sitting seven points out of eighth place in the Western Conference -- has six inter-conference match-ups remaining.
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