Mar 25, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Matt Halischuk (24) is congratulated by right wing Brandon Yip (18) for scoring a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

A Time to Clinch

After beating the Atlanta Thrashers  Saturday night the Predators took  their talents to the Windy City and routed the division rival Chicago Blackhawks by 6-1 score on Sunday night. The team is now 2-1 since the prodigal son Alexander Radulov returned from his four year Russian vacation and A-Rad has recorded 3 points (1G-2A) in those three games, showing why he was called by hockey pundits on both sides of the pond “the best player not in the NHL”.  The season long quest to clinch a playoff spot could be completed by tonight despite the Preds being idle if regulation losses by both LA and San Jose occur. While making the playoffs is nice it is not even close to where the Preds want to end up and the foot cannot be taken off the gas. While catching the Blues is a long shot, it’s critical to create separation and put the Red Wings and Blackhawks further in the rear view to ensure home ice in the first round. There are 13 days left in the regular season and to fans in some markets (Columbus, Edmonton, and Montreal we’re looking at you!)  it can’t end soon enough, but as Preds fans we should be excited because if everything goes according to plan we’ve got another 8 weeks of hockey!

Prospect Reports:

As noted last week Preds prospects Garrett Noonan (Boston University) and Zach Budish (Minnesota) faced off in the first round of the NCAA hockey tournament with Budish’s Gophers taking a 7-3 decision over Noonan’s Terriers before beating WCHA rival North Dakota to advance to the Frozen 4. Budish recorded a pair of helpers in both wins for a total of 4 assists in the 2 games and Noonan had an assist and played his usual tenacious game in the heartbreaking  loss. I’m again including the vlog piece on Budish as a tribute to his advancement in the tournament and I look forward to watching him play in person next week down here at the Frozen 4. (Although seeing the hometown Terriers play would have been even better)


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