After a few days off the Nashville Predators return to the ice tonight in Glendale against Phoenix in what could be a preview of the same match up on the same sheet of ice one week later.
If the season ended today, Nashville would meet Phoenix, most probably on Wednesday, April 14 at Jobbing.com Arena in Glendale in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Going into the game, the Predators probably have more on the line in this particular game as they are trying to fend off any moves on their current fifth place position by Detroit and Los Angeles. On the flip side, this is the Coyote's final regular season home game and should be a sell out.
A win by the Preds by three or more goals would keep the slim chance alive for the Preds to move into fourth place ahead of the Yotes.
The Preds plan to work Captain Jason Arnott back into the line up tonight as they prepare for the playoffs and only have one game remaining to work the whole team as a group. Denis Grebeshkov's return has been ruled out until later in the playoffs.
At this point in the season, there is little left to be said about match-ups and statistics. The Preds need to hit the ice with a good start and play consistently for a full sixty minutes.
Both the Predators and the Coyotes are well coached and the game can almost be viewed as a chess match between two of the best coaches in the game today.
I would hate to see the Preds move down from the fifth position, but I really would rather see a Predator-Coyote match-up further into the playoffs. Both teams have scoring spread through the line-up, play good defense and have excellent goaltending.
It would seem a shame for one of these two teams to lose in the first round and not move forward. A series between the two teams could end up being one of the best in the entire playoffs. Time will tell.
For more information from the Coyote side go to Five For Howling, the Arizona Republic, the Examiner or The Coyotes Aggregator.
So What If We Get to Use These Tickets?...
In Pred Nation...
John Glennon has a couple of "Keys to the Game" from Jason Arnott and Dan Ellis at Inside Predators. He also has the story of Steve Sullivan feeling the urgency of this year's playoff run since it has been a while for him. He also has a note on the Kings passing the Wings after beating Anaheim last night in a shoot out. There is also the game at a glance.
David Boclair looks at the Pred's push for positioning in the last two games.
From @Forechecker: Are you ready for some hockey talk this afternoon? I'm appearing on @3hourlunch1045 today from 2-3 p.m., taking calls and talking Preds!
Hockey's Future has a look at the Predator's European prospects.
NHL.com has a feature on the Predator's defense.
Jas Faulkner asks "Is this the Year?"
Section 303 has a contest going for two free tickets to Saturday's finale. They also pointed us to another NHL app for the Blackberry that you can download here.
Chris Burton poses the question, "Is David Legwand Slumping or Mis-used?" He also has a preview of tonight's game.
Big Kev evaluates the East vs the West.
The Odd Man Rush has part two of potential Pred's opponents with a look at Vancouver.
Marcel Goc is in the lead in a poll asking who is the NHL's Unsung Hero at From the Rink.
The Milwaukee Admirals clinched a playoff spot with a 4-1 win over Peoria in an odd day game on Tuesday afternoon. Short Shifts also adds perspective.
Chris and Dave answer six questions about the Preds at Yardbarker.
Want to win a Pred's viewing party from Best Buy? Enter Here.
Around the NHL...
Calgary is officially out and Colorado is in after the Flames went quietly against San Jose and Colorado beat Vancouver in a shoot out. I had Calgary as a team with potential to go to the finals before the season. The bottom completely fell out as the season progressed. Jarome Iginla was ready to take the blame.
Ryan Porth picks his top five cup contenders.
Paul Kukla pays homage to this season's four retiring NHL officials.
Previews of Thursday's Frozen Four match ups can be found at the USCHO site.
Poor Josh Sacco... Now the Boston Herald has taken offense at his "Screw 'em" in his most recent speech at Fenway Park.
Matt Reitz discusses the Enigma of Kyle Quincey.
Wow! Interesting stuff rom @Jay_Grossman: CAN-US Final has better rating than NCAA Duke-Butler #FinalFour game. Where do we go from here?
Jonas Segal has an interesting piece on Dan Carcillo. Carcillo and Jordin Tootoo are two of the prototype players that are geared for the post lockout NHL. They combine grit and offense.
Random from Puck Daddy - Preds fan runs on field during opening day.
Sad news from Atlanta, @BenThrashers: With the Thrashers eliminated Chris Chelios will go back to AHl to help Wolves. It may be the end of his NHL career.
Odds and Ends...
Michelle Kenneth discusses living a responsible life.
Hard to believe Andy is old enough to go to college. But then again, My son Fisher has started and Toy Story was the first movie he ever went to.
Just when you think airlines can't get any worse, Spirit Airlines wants to start charging for carry on luggage.
Finally, @codeyh claims this would become humorous after it repeats a few times but I still don't get it. Here's the story on this dude.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass