Three games left in what has been a regular season ending sprint for the Predators. The mad dash to playoff positioning that began after the All Star break has now come down to to the final stretch at the tape. The Predators have amazingly survived injuries that have felled lesser teams; they have endured and actually prospered with a less than potent offense; and they have battled with heart to get to this final sprint to a playoff home. Three games. Three opportunities to put it all on the ice. Three opportunities to sprint away from your competitors.
The Hawks come in having gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, while the Preds are 5-2-3. The Preds lead the season series with Chicago 3-2. The Hawks will be without Patrick Sharp and Brent Sopel; Troy Brouwer is questionable for tonight. Ryan Jones could return to the line up tonight and will be a game time decision. Antti Pihlstom, Wade Belak, and Marty Erat are out.
The finish line is in sight, but the legs are heavy and the lungs are on fire. The easy choice is to slow down, yet the separation between the winner of a sprint and all other runners is only hundreths of a second. The extra work in the corners, winning battles on the boards, going to the net- digging down deep- are the last push in the sprint to finish, the things that create the margin of victory. Let's get out and run boys.