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Three Questions For The Final Week Of The Season

Tuesday, 04.3.2012 / 5:30 AM CT / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Three Questions For The Final Week Of The Season
As the Preds head into the final week of the regular season there are certainties --- the Preds will be playing in the post-season --- there are question marks --- who will be their first round opponent --- and a host of items worth keeping an eye on.

Yes, we are 79 games into the season, but the final three hold plenty of intrigue and drama.

Take a look at the three "keys" to the final week of the season...

1. Health. The playoff gauntlet tests a team's depth, so going into the playoffs with a healthy roster is a key. Perhaps more so than momentum. Momentum can swing with a quick Game 1 win. Health isn't as easy to create within a series. If Nashville has its complete roster available, Coach Trotz has a ton of options to throw at counterpart -- both with lineup decisions game-to-game and with match-ups shift-to-shift.

2. Detailed Game. The coaches talk about the team's "detail" in its game as a big key to the Preds success this season; the compilation of the little plays within the bigger picture of the game that put the team in situations to succeed. Often the coaches focus on the one-on-one battles along the boards, the decision making with the puck, and the positional play without the puck, especially angles and routes on the forecheck. When Nashville pays attention to the detail in its game it usually leads to long stretches of success. This week will be as much about the Preds refining the details in their game as the actual results of this week's games.

3. Working Josi Back Into The Lineup. Nashville is a different team with a healthy Roman Josi in the lineup; the Preds have posted a 31-15-3 mark in the 49 games Josi has played, compared to a 14-11-5 mark when he hasn't played. Josi returned to the Preds lineup last Friday at Detroit. The three games this week will be key for Josi to get his timing back and settle in to "game pace" as the Preds get ready for next week's playoff series. With Josi healthy, the Preds defensive pairings seem to fit together well -- Suter/Weber as the top pairing, Bouillon/Klein have a history of success together over the past three seasons, and Gill/Josi have been very effective when paired together. The Preds are a team built from defense out, so the more the defensive pairings are in sync heading into the post-season, the better Nashville's chances for playoff success.


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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 53 10 27 -2 37
S. Weber 53 14 21 -4 35
F. Forsberg 53 15 18 -6 33
M. Ribeiro 53 6 27 3 33
J. Neal 53 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 53 6 16 3 22
R. Ellis 52 6 15 2 21
C. Smith 53 11 6 -1 17
C. Jarnkrok 52 9 7 0 16
C. Wilson 36 4 12 0 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 17 7 .904 2.50
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36