The Nashville Predators face a critical three games this week at the Bridgestone that will go a long way in determining whether they will still be sitting in the top eight a week from now.
On Sunday, the Predators fell out of a tenuous fourth place in the Western Conference and slipped to seven points behind the Red Wings when Anaheim beat the Oilers to move into fourth and the Wings added two points to their total by beating the Bruins in the NBC game of the week.
Only four points separate third and tenth in the Western Conference. A three game losing streak would easily knock the Preds out of a current playoff seed.
On Tuesday, The Preds will face the San Jose Sharks, that have been one of the hottest teams in the west recently. They have lost their last two games including yesterday's 3-2 loss in Florida. The Sharks are a point behind the Preds in seventh.
The Vancouver Canucks come to town on Thursday to give the Preds a stern test. The Nucks have the best record in the league and have been almost unbeatable over the last two and one half months.
The game on Saturday will feature a visit from the Phoenix Coyotes, who have rebounded from a six game losing streak to win their last four, and currently reside in sixth place with the same point total as the Preds but with one extra game played.
With the closeness of the race and games with other contenders in town, the hype of the Mike Fisher trade needs to be put into the rear view mirror and the team needs to get down to work.
Marcel Goc will return and there will be a slight juggling of the lines as Barry Trotz looks for combinations that will work for the stretch run. This is a make or break time of the year and this week will give us an idea of where the Predators are headed.
Here is our game story from Saturday night with post game Barry Trotz video.
Josh Cooper had his game story, notes column, and postgame ponderings.
Jim Diamond has a good story and even better headline on the clash of the Swedes on Saturday..
David Boclair has his story at The City Paper.
From the blog world reports come from Ryan Porth, Amanda DiPaolo, Mark Willoughby, Dirk Hoag (with his advances stats), Jeremy Gover, Paul McCann, Predatorial, Fang Finger Fever, and Hockey Night in Nashville.
The other side of the story comes Adrian Dater at the Denver Post. I'd like to thank Adrian for kind words about POTG on his site yesterday. Other wrap-ups come from Aaron Musick, Mile High Hockey, The Avalanche Guild, Jibblescribbits, and AvsHockeyPodcast. John Manasso has a good story on Peter Forsberg after two games.
In Pred Nation...
Jim Diamond has done his undercover work and found that Montreal Scouts will be in Nashville all week and may have their eyes on a Predator defenseman.
Amanda DiPaolo gets an early start on previewing Tuesday's game by talking to Dany Heatly.
Mike Fisher took out a full page ad in the Ottawa Citizen thanking the team and the fans for all they did for him in his eleven year stay in the city.
Robbie at HNIN discusses Nashville's growth as a true hockey town.
John Manasso of NHL.com explains that Mike Fisher should have no problem fitting in in Music City.
Ryan Porth has his take on the Mike Fisher signing.
Mark Willoughby is with a very giddy Barry Trotz at the Predators Gala on Thursday night.
Jeremy at Section 303 is starting some serious scoreboard watching.
The Predatorial is all caught up with the potential of too many players on the Preds' roster. I'm not worried, we are due another injury any game now.
It is no surprise that Ryan Ellis heads the list of OHL drafted defensemen at Hockey's Future.
Admirals Roundtable gets to the bottom of the Casey Piero-Zabotel story and finds that Pittsburgh has retained his rights. They also have the story of the Ads 5-2 win over the Icehogs but only had three total shots in the last 40 minutes.
Over 1500 folks took part in the Predators 5K road race on Saturday. The big winner was the Monroe Carell Children's Hospital that got $5 from each entry.
The New York Times takes a whack at the Tennessean's "husband" headline.
Icethetics discusses the jerseys worn by the Predators at the Gala last week.
Around the NHL...
Mario Lemieux is not pleased with the discipline handed down by the NHL from Friday's Pens-Isles debacle. I personally think Trevor Gillies should be suspended for the rest of the season. It was really odd that the fines were announced near midnight on a Saturday night.
Bruce Garrioch takes a look at the status of 29 teams heading into the trade deadline. There is no entry for Colorado. I wonder why.
Mickey "The Fighter" Ward sat down with NHL.com and talked after dropping the opening puck on Friday at TD Garden.
It's now or never for the Rangers as they have been sliding lately. They did manage a win over the struggling Pens yesterday who were shaken up in a bus wreck on Saturday.
John Grigg analyzes the Devils' turnaround at The Hockey News.
Odds and Ends...
Dahlia Kurtz found this article that shows how manufacturers are ripping you off with their products.
NASA now says that they were lucky that there weren't more disasters with the Space Shuttle.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass