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The Week Ahead... (Mar. 29)

by Jay Levin / Nashville Predators
What to Watch For...
Monday -- Preds at Florida

The second meeting of the season between the out-of-conference foes, the Preds used a three-goal third period to win the first meeting 4-1 in Nashville. Dan Ellis will likely be in net tonight in a battle of back-up goaltenders vs. Florida's Scott Clemmensen.

Tuesday -- LA at Nashville
Both the Kings and Preds appear to be in good shape to make the playoffs, but this game will have major implications on seeding for both teams; entering the week the two squads were separated by a mere two points (and one win in the tie-breaker). This game will be the second half of a back-to-back set for both squads, so look for depth and role players to have a chance at the spotlight.

Wednesday -- Preds Wine Tasting
The annual Predators Foundation Wine Tasting will take place at Bridgestone Arena with over 150 higher end wines, beers, and spirits. Event starts at 6pm. Click here to register

Thursday -- St. Louis at Nashville
Mar. 21, the Preds came from behind to top the Blues 3-2 in St. Louis. The Blues may be eliminated from playoff contention before the game starts, but the two division rivals have battled hard with six of the last 10 meetings decided by just one goal.

Saturday -- Preds at Detroit
A rematch of this past Saturday's game, an 11-round shootout win by the Red Wings. By the time the puck drops both the Preds and Wings may well have clinched playoff spots, but the game will still go a long way toward deciding seeding.

This Week...
The Preds have a busy four-game schedule this week, opening with a back-to-back set Monday at the Florida Panthers and Tuesday back home to host the LA Kings. Thursday the Preds host the St. Louis Blues, before wrapping up the week at Detroit on Saturday afternoon.

Conference Playoff Picture...
The Preds enter the week in 5th place in the Western Conference standings. The team's magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to a mere 5 points, making an official playoff clinch possible by mid-week. For a more indepth look at the playoff situation, click here.

Injury Report...
  • Jason Arnott, Denis Grebeshkov, and Joel Ward remain out. Ward skated hard during Saturday's morning skate practice and made the trip with the team to Florida, but is still likely miss at least the early week back-to-back. No new updates on Arnott or Grebeshkov.
  • Martin Erat did not make the trip to Florida with the team. As reported by The Tennessean today, Erat is also projected to miss tomorrow's game with Los Angeles, but is probable for Thursday's game vs. St. Louis.
The Week That Was...
The Preds went 1-1-1 last week and strengthened their position within the Western Conference playoff picture. Nashville dropped a 3-1 decision to Dallas to open the week, but rebounded to top Phoenix 4-3 in a shootout and then picked up a point with a 1-0 shootout loss to Detroit on Saturday. Colorado and Los Angeles, both 1-2-1 on the week, failed to take advantage of games at hand against Nashville.

Steve Sullivan led the Preds offense with three points (one goal, two assists). Pekka Rinne started all three games in net for the Preds, stopping 81-of-87 shots for a .931 save percentage and 1.91 goals against average on the week. Rinne also turned aside 11 of the 14 shootout attempts he faced.

Preds Play of The Week...
Watch -- Pekka Rinne's sliding double-stack save and hold to rob Niklas Kronwall and keep Saturday's game vs. Detroit scoreless.

Prospect of the Week...
Blake Geoffrion -- The Preds 2006 second round pick scored two goals and five points in two games during NCAA Regional play to lead Wisconsin to a pair of wins and spot in Frozen Four. The Brentwood, TN native is also a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award (given to the top NCAA ice hockey player).
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