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BEST OF SEVEN – Game 5, Atlanta vs Nashville: Finishing Strong


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The Predators continue their “best of 19″ series and their final seven games when they take on the Atlanta Thrashers in an East/West matchup and the final such matchup this year for the Predators.

Looking at the Thrashers: Atlanta is coming in with a weird record in their past 12 games: 6-6. What’s even stranger and disconcerting to this blogger is they produce a stat that will lead me into my superstitious stat:

In the past 12 games, the Thrashers are:

W – L – W – L – W – L – W – L – W – L – W – L – ?

Game 13, I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…I don’t like that one

As for the Thrashers, they’ve gone perfect on the penalty kill in the past 6 games (15-15) after going 4-7 against Buffalo (an 8-2 loss). However, their powerplay has been strangely absent over the past 9 games (2-30, 6.7%). Atlanta has 4 games left in their season, all against teams in the playoffs or in the playoff hunt. Definitely a tough final stretch for the Thrashers

Looking at the Predators: Nashville comes in with a 9-2-1 record in their past 12 games, however losing 2 of their past 3 and one of those 2 Saturday afternoon to Detroit, blowing a 3 goal lead and losing in overtime. However, as Atlanta is booking their April tee-times, the Predators have to move on from that loss and focus on the task at hand: clinching a playoff spot.

Nashville is at 95 points, 3 away from a guaranteed spot and possibly 1 away clinching if Dallas loses (see below for more information on that).

Nashville is also 1 point behind 4th place (LAK/PHX ahead), tied in games played with LAK/PHX/ANA, but don’t really hold tiebreakers on anyone but Calgary. If the Predators win out, they have a serious shot at home ice advantage in the playoffs. One thing to look at in advance is what the season series looks like between each of the possible playoff matchups in the first round:

Nashville against Vancouver: 2-2-0 (8 GF/6 GA)
Nashville against Detroit: 4-1-1 (18 GF/13 GA)
Nashville against San Jose: 2-0-2 (8 GF/8 GA)
Nashville against Los Angeles: 1-3-0 (9 GF/13 GA)
Nashville against Phoenix: 2-2-0 (13 GF/9 GA)
Nashville against Anaheim: 3-1-0 (17 GF/11 GA)

For the Thrashers to win: If Atlanta plays like a team that actually HAS talent (which they do) and Chris Mason [if he starts] plays like he does against Nashville, then the Thrashers have a legitimate chance at beating Nashville. It’s pretty cut and dry for Atlanta

For the Predators to win: If Nashville rebounds strong from a hurtful loss on Saturday against Detroit and actually give Pekka Rinne a hint of good defense, then it shouldn’t be very difficult for Nashville to dispatch a lower opponent such as Atlanta. However, if the defense lapses and the players can’t clear the puck out of the zone when they need to, then it could be another heartbreaker for Preds fans.

Prediction: 2-0 Nashville. I think Nashville rebounds and does so in a strong way. A good performance all around and Kevin Klein stays quiet and gets 0 points but comes out on the + end of the stat sheet

Playoff Outlook: 95 points, Currently, 6th place – 1 point out of 4th/5th

Best of 19 Record: 10-3-3

BEST OF SEVEN Record: 2-2-0

What SportsClubStats Says?: 97.5% chance the Predators make it. The Predators need 99+ points to secure a playoff spot. They are currently 5 points out of a possible 8 points behind that

WHO TO ROOT FOR?:
NASHVILLE PREDATORS vs Atlanta Thrashers
Dallas Stars vs COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS (IN REGULATION)
MONTREAL CANADIENS vs Chicago Blackhawks

WHICH TEAMS CANNOT CATCH THE PREDATORS IN THE STANDINGS?:
***Dallas Stars – Max possible points are 97 (5 points from being eliminated)
***Calgary Flames – Max possible points are 95 (4 points from being eliminated)
Minnesota Wild – Max possible points are 92 (ELIMINATED)
St. Louis Blues – Max possible points are 91 (ELIMINATED)
Columbus Blue Jackets – Max possible points are 89 (ELIMINATED)
Colorado Avalanche – Max possible points are 76 (ELIMINATED)
Edmonton Oilers - Max possible points are 67 (ELIMINATED)

*** = On the fringe of not catching the Predators

CLINCHING SCENARIOS FOR THE PREDATORS

Tuesday, April 5th: Dallas loss in regulation coupled with a Nashville W/OTW/OTL (Dallas max points possible would be 95, Preds would have at least 96)

Thanks for reading!

~KM

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