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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.


SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61