Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Preds Face Sharks in Pivotal Western Conference Matchup

It's now reached the point of the season where each game becomes bigger and bigger by the day. The Predators have a tremendous opportunity this week to put some distance between themselves and other members of the Western Conference who are chasing them. San Jose, Vancouver, and Phoenix all visit Bridgestone Arena this week. That's three opportunities to defend home ice against three teams in the Western Conference who are right in the thick of things.

The first opportunity is San Jose, and that opportunity comes Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators and Sharks have met twice so far this year, with both meetings resulting in Nashville victories. The Sharks will come into the game Tuesday night in 7th position in the Western Conference, while the Preds will come into the game in 6th position. With a win, Nashville would jump back up to 4th place.

Games between these two teams are always physical, and I don't expect this one to be any different. The Sharks have size on their side, but the Predators are faster than they are. Pekka Rinne is going to have to be sharper than he was on Saturday night if the Preds want to win the game, and the offense is going to have to continue with it's production.

Each game is continually having more and more at stake. The Preds are looking to distance themselves between teams in the Western Conference, and there is no better way to do that than beating the teams who are chasing you. This is, without question, the most pivotal week the Predators have had so far this season. We'll find out what this team is made of. Three games on home ice should translate into three wins on home ice. Puck drop is at 7:00 P.M. central time.

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