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Preds on the prowl

Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators are looking for their fifth consecutive post-season appearance, but have yet to advance to the second round. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators are looking for their fifth consecutive post-season appearance, but have yet to advance to the second round. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lots will be made in the season’s final week about teams like St. Louis, Columbus and Florida trying to make either their first playoff appearance in a long time or, in the Jackets’ case, ever.

Given all the organization has endured, maybe more attention should be directed at the fact the Nashville Predators have a good chance to make their fifth consecutive post-season appearance.

Through unstable ownership, salary dumps and Alexander Radulov’s stunning jump to the Kontinental League last summer, coach Barry Trotz once again has his disciplined team steered toward the post-season.

Nashville has yet to win a playoff round and likely won’t do it this year, either, but still, on a team with no real stars, give Trotz and GM David Poile credit for finding a way to keep this thing consistently on the rails.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
OVERALL
L10
THE SCOOP
1
Boston Bruins
5
51-17-10
8-1-1
An emotional week for Tim Thomas, who signed a new deal and tried to seal Sean Avery's fate
2
Carolina Hurricanes
1
44-28-7
8-1-1
Eric Staal will be going head-to-head with brother Jordan if Canes play Pittsburgh in Round 1
3
San Jose Sharks
4
52-16-11
7-2-1
Hoping a few of their foot soldiers will recover from injuries in time for the playoffs
4
Pittsburgh Penguins
2
42-28-9
6-2-2
Sidney Crosby drops the gloves after Evgeni Malkin gets crunched; I'm sure Malkin would do the same for him
5
Detroit Red Wings
6
50-19-9
6-4-0
Wings are the only team in the league that averages more than 35 shots per game
6
New Jersey Devils
7
49-26-4
3-6-1
Devils' 49 wins equals the all-time franchise mark
7
Washington Capitals
10
48-23-8
6-2-2
Crazy how much of a forgotten man Michael Nylander has become
8
Vancouver Canucks
3
42-27-10
5-4-1
Based on this week's schedule, Northwest is Vancouver's to lose
9
Anaheim Ducks
12
41-33-6
8-2-0
Anaheim has four days off to rest up for back-to-back games Friday and Saturday, when it will try to secure a playoff berth
10
Chicago Blackhawks
15
43-24-11
6-2-2
Nikolai Khabibulin has allowed just two goals in his past three games
11
Calgary Flames
11
44-28-6
4-6-0
Blueline is very banged up right now
12
St. Louis Blues
8
38-31-10
6-2-2
What a finish for David Backes, who has 13 goals in his past 16 contests
13
Philadelphia Flyers
14
42-25-11
5-4-1
Scott Hartnell hits the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career and still hasn't cut his hair
14
Nashville Predators
9
39-32-8
5-2-3
Could really use a power play boost over the last week
15
Columbus Blue Jackets
13
40-29-10
4-2-4
Rick Nash doing his part with nine points in his past six games
16
Montreal Canadiens
21
41-27-10
5-3-2
Uniting Saku Koivu, Alex Tanguay and Alex Kovalev just may save Montreal's season
17
Florida Panthers
17
39-29-11
5-4-1
We find out this week whether keeping Jay Bouwmeester was worth it
18
Minnesota Wild
20
37-33-9
5-4-1
GM Doug Risebrough has one tough task figuring out what to do with Marian Gaborik, who's got 10 goals in 14 games
19
Edmonton Oilers
22
37-33-9
4-6-0
Does anybody deserve a vacation more than Dwayne Roloson?
20
New York Rangers
19
40-30-9
5-4-1
Worst 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio of any team in the playoff hunt
21
Buffalo Sabres
18
38-31-9
4-4-2
Looks like two straight years out of the playoffs
22
Ottawa Senators
16
34-34-10
6-4-0
Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson all on pace for their lowest point totals since the lockout
23
Phoenix Coyotes
27
34-38-7
6-3-1
It's a one-man show in Phoenix, where Shane Doan has 27 more points than the Coyotes' No. 2 scorer, Matthew Lombardi
24
Atlanta Thrashers
23
34-39-6
6-4-0
A recent run of 11 wins over 14 games marked the best stretch in franchise history
25
Dallas Stars
29
35-34-10
2-6-2
Will miss the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. What a disaster 2008-09 has been in Dallas
26
Los Angeles Kings
25
32-35-11
3-6-1
Team might not be winning much, but Jonathan Quick continues to make a pitch for the No. 1 job entering next year
27
Toronto Maple Leafs
24
32-34-13
5-5-0
Martin Gerber's play of late won't help him land a contract for next year
28
New York Islanders
26
26-43-9
3-6-1
Unbelievable how many injuries this team has right now
29
Colorado Avalanche
30
32-44-2
2-7-1
Sunday's 4-1 win over the Canucks marked the first time in 10 games Colorado scored more than two goals in a game
30
Tampa Bay Lightning
28
24-37-18
1-5-4
Vinny officially shuts 'er down to repair his wrist

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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