By Amanda DiPaolo
Anaheim Ducks 41-27-5
Nashville Predators 39-25-10
The Nashville Predators have won four games in a row and will be looking for their fifth straight victory on Thursday night when Nashville hosts the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville hasn’t won four games in a row since they went 6-0-0 to start the month of January.
The Ducks have also won four in a row, most recently Wednesday night when they edged Dallas 3-2 in overtime. Down 2-1 late in the third, Teemu Selannetied things up with 5 seconds left in regulation. Dallas got a bad break when, in the dying seconds of the game, the puck hit the referee in the leg and bounced right to the Ducks.
The Predators and Anaheim are fighting each other for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Currently, Nashville has 88 points. Anaheim, with their win on Wednesday night are just one point behind the Predators at 87 on the season.
Anaheim has 9 games left to play; Nashville has 8 games remaining, including Thursday night’s contest. With Anaheim’s game in hand, the Predators have no room for error. A loss on Thursday could see the Predators drop to 8th spot.
Thursday’s game is the second of a four-game homestand. The Predators host Dallas on Saturday night, another game with huge playoff ramifications. On Tuesday, Nashville hosts League leading Vancouver before Nashville goes on the road to Colorado.
The flurry of home games late in the season has suited the Predators well. In Nashville’s last 11 games the Predators have gone 8-2-2. Six of those 8 wins have come on home ice.
With Nashville’s win on Tuesday night, the Predators recorded their 20th win on home ice. They are the seventh team to win at least 20 home games every season since 2005-06. The Red Wings have the most wins at home with 156, but Nashville has 151 home victories since the start of the 2005 season, putting them in a three-way tie with Vancouver and San Jose for second in the category.
Furthermore, the Predators are just one win shy of reaching the 40-win mark for the sixthconsecutive season. Nashville keeps such company with only two other teams, Detroit and San Jose.
Thursday night’s game marks the last time this season Nashville will be hosting a college night. Students can get lower bowl tickets for $25 and upper bowl tickets for $10 with student I.D.
In international hockey news, USA Hockey announced on Wednesday that an advisory group would select the staff and players for the 2011 World Championships team.
Two members of the Nashville Predators organization are involved. General Manager David Poileis on the advisory board along with several other GMs around the League including Toronto’s Brian Burke, Paul Holmgren of Philadelphia, the Penguins Ray Shero to name a few.
Paul Fenton, the Predators assistant general manager, Paul Fenton, will act as associate general manager.
The World Championships are from April 29-May 15 in Kosice and Bratislava, Slovakia.
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