Coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to Detroit on Saturday, the Nashville Predators need to refocus and win their final three games against teams that are going nowhere.
Taken individually, any one of the three could be considered a "trap" game but as it is could you call this a "trap" week?
First up is Atlanta on Tuesday night who is on the outside of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. They are 5-5 in their last ten games and have played decently at times lately.
On Friday and Saturday, the Preds play division opponents Columbus in Nashville and St. Louis on the road respectively. Nashville has beaten Columbus sixteen straight times at Bridgestone Arena and I'm sure the Bluejackets have their calendars circled with this meeting being their "playoff game."
There is little doubt that St. Louis is also pointing to their final home game on Saturday, looking for a bit of redemption for a mediocre season by beating the Predators, with the potential of ending their good season on a sour note.
After the game Saturday, Barry Trotz was not that worried about the Predator's play and was pleased with their third period response to Detroit tying the game up. "They get a goal and were tied up, then we are all over them. We had 15 scoring chances in the third period, they had four."
I thought in the third period that Jimmy Howard was the difference. It wasn't poor play by us, he was the difference in the third. I thought we were really strong on the draws against one of the top teams on the draw and we did a great job."
The Predators need to come out with that same type of pressure and enthusiasm tomorrow night and not let Atlanta get into the game.
The Predators ended the weekend in sixth place in the Western Conference. Anaheim had a chance to move past the Predators last night but failed, losing to Dallas 4-3 with two goals waived off in the closing seconds.
The Predators will pose for the team picture today before practice at the Bridgestone Arena and will face the Thrashers tomorrow at 7 p.m.
Here is our game story from Saturday with postgame video.
Josh Cooper had his game story, notes column, and postgame ponderings.
Jim Diamond touches questions Shane O'Brien's timing on settling the score with Todd Bertuzzi.
David Boclair has his story at The City Paper.
From the blog world reports come from Ryan Porth, Amanda DiPaolo, Mark Willoughby, Chris Burton, Jeremy Gover, Fang Finger Fever, AJ at PMFF, Hands like Cement, Fang Faction, What the Puck, and Hockey Night in Nashville.
Shane O'Brien and Todd Bertuzzi squared off for two fights in the contest. Here are the videos.
For game stories from the Motor City, check out MLive, the Detroit Free Press, Winging It in Motown, and the Detroit News.
Audio from the Predators comes from Mike Fisher, Shea Weber, Shane O'Brien, and Ryan Suter. From the Wings Coach Mike Babcock, Dan Cleary, and Justin Abdelkader speak.
In Pred Nation...
Amanda DiPaolo thinks that Sergei Kostitsyn is living up to his potential.
Josh Cooper talked to Colin Wilson about his grandfather Gerry who recently passed away.
David Boclair looks at the Predators unprecedented third period failure rate.
Jeremy at Section 303 reports of Guelph's playoff demise and the potential of having Taylor Beck and Michael Latta joining the Admirals soon. Jeremy also updates the Pedigree dog adoption at Saturday's game.
Rebecca Dobrinski has a nice review of On The Forcheck at The Hockey Writers.
USA Hockey claims Nashville is now a hockey town in this feature story.
Robby at HNIN wants the Predators to learn how to play a full sixty minutes.
The Milwaukee Admirals failed to clinch the West as they lost to Peoria 4-3.
The Predators Foundation gave out $325,000 in grants this year to area charities.
In a programming note, the games on April 5 and 8 have been moved from FS TN to SportSouth.
It doesn't sound like Mike Fisher will be a daddy anytime soon.
Around the NHL...
Sad news that Yale women's hockey player Mandi Schwartz passed away on Sunday morning. She had battled cancer for over two years and had the thoughts and prayers of the entire hockey community. Our condolences go ou to her family and friends.
Would players opt out of big contracts that have them buried in the minors?
RLD Hockey looks at who has the top line in the Saturday Faceoff and also whether the Wings can overcome their age to go deep in the playoffs.
Canuckz.com looks at which team they would rather face in the first round.
Puckchat #16 recap is up at View from My Seats.
Now Paul Stastny is out for the season with a stress fracture.
Larry Brooks looks at the shootout "penalty" as a tie breaker in the standings.
The New York Daily News does a feature on Gary Bettman's radio show.
Andre Delsol continues on his trip for 30 arenas in 29 days. Oddly enough, the road team has been 13-3-3 in his trek so far. It has been enjoyable seeing his story from each stop. The Bridgestone Arena remains near the top at the two thirds point of the trip.
Odds and Ends...
As anyone should have predicted, the opening night on the Charlie Sheen tour was a total disaster.
Initial reports on the Southwest Airline plane that blew a hole in the skin on Friday says that there was widespread cracking in the fuselage. Southwest is canceling flights to check its entire fleet.
April 12, 2011 will mark the 50th Anniversary of man's first trip into space. A free film will be released on that day called "First Orbit" to commemorate the occasion. It was produced by using original footage and voice combined with material from the International Space Station. This is a must see for anyone interested in space exploration or history. Here is a trailer. Here are links to two more - one, two.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass