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Nashville hosts Anaheim in first of two huge home matches this week


James O’Brien

It’s way too early to say that the Nashville Predators will make or break their season (and their opponents’ seasons) in the next two games, but each one of those contests sport a “steel cage match in Wrestlemania” feel.

While winning both games in regulation won’t guarantee the Predators a playoff berth, earning success against the Anaheim Ducks tonight and the Dallas Stars on Saturday would absolutely go a long way in helping them get the job done. In a matter of three days, Nashville could earn a nice cushion or be in some serious trouble in the Western Conference playoff race.

Tonight’s game is a should-win for the Predators because the Ducks are coming off a dramatic and emotional win against the Stars in Dallas last night. Neither one of those teams are just going to roll over for Nashville, but with home ice advantage on their side, the Predators would deeply regret letting these opportunities slip through their fingers.

After all, the Predators might hold a lead over the Ducks and Stars, but they have some disadvantages going for them as well. Let’s take a look at the West bubble, via NBC’s standings.

So the Predators have the most points (88), but one less game remaining than the Ducks and Stars. The Ducks lead the pack with wins (41) so they likely would earn a tie-breaker if things trend the same way.

Again, it’s incorrect to boil this race down to those two games, even for the Predators. They will enjoy a very friendly closing schedule, with six of their last eight at home.

Still, there aren’t many contests left and this might be their best chance to “control their destiny” by actually playing against the two clubs most likely to foil their plans. It should be intriguing to watch and we’ll keep you up to date on how it all plays out.