Predators begin final push tonight

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 at 2:10am

Unlike the Beatles, Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz wanted to get by without a little help from his friends.

But if the Predators are going to make the No. 8 playoff berth in the Western Conference, they are going to have to win their final three games and also hope that some of the other teams in the conference help them out.

Tonight at 6:30 the Predators play the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center. The game will be seen nationally on Versus.

The Predators are looking for some secondary scoring in the stretch run. Center Scott Nichol has four goals against the Blues this season in five games. He has scored nine goals against the Blues in 27 games in his career.

“We have to pull our socks up again and keep pushing and clawing and scratching,” said Nichol. “We have to come out ready to work and ready to play hard. We just have to win games the rest of the way.”

The Predators return home Thursday night for one last game with the Blues at the Sommet Center before closing out the regular season in Chicago Friday night.

All Western Conference teams took the day off Monday. The Predators head into tonight’s game with 87 points, one point behind Vancouver which holds down the No. 8 spot.

Coming up from behind are the Edmonton Oilers. Bolstered by the youth on the team, the Oilers are only one point behind the Predators with 86 points. But the Oilers only have two games left to play. They host Calgary tonight and finish the regular season on the road at Vancouver Thursday night.

Vancouver finishes the season with three straight home games. They play Colorado tonight followed by Edmonton on Thursday and Calgary Saturday.

“We have to step up in these three games,” Trotz said. “We have to get points in every one of them. We have to do our job and not worry about everyone else. “

ELLIS A STAR: Goaltender Dan Ellis earned the second star in the NHL Three Stars of the Week named by the league.

Ellis was 2-0-1 with a 0.33 goals-against average, a .991 save percentage and two shutouts. He has kept the Predators in the playoff hunt with five of a possible six points. In back-to-back starts against the Columbus Blue Jackets, he made 36 and 43 saves, recording his fifth and sixth shutouts of the season as the Predators won 3-0, Mar. 25 and 2-0, Mar. 28.

Despite his success over the past four games after almost losing his position, Ellis is downplaying his contributions.

“We are a group of 20,” Ellis said. “We don’t have one guy that carries us.”

Ellis finished the week with a 35 saves in a 1-0 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings Sunday. Ellis set a franchise record with a scoreless streak of 233:39 that began March 22 against Chicago and ended with the overtime goal in Detroit.

He is also fifth in the NHL since 1944-45 in longest stretches without allowing a goal.

Ellis had 147 consecutive saves during the streak. His 43 saves against Columbus was a career-high and is tied for the highest number of saves in a game this season.

Ellis has appeared in 42 games posting a record of 22-10-3, with a 2.28 goals-against average, a .926 save percentage and six shutouts.

Ellis has allowed one goal or fewer in eight of his last 13 starts. He had a 1.75 goals-against average and a .949 save percentage in the month of March.

His .926 save percentage leads the NHL.

His 2.28 goals-against average is tied for seventh best and is shutout total is tied for third best.

He has a 16-6-3 record in his last 22 decisions, is 10-3-3 in one-goal games and 16-1-0 when he receives three or more goals in offensive support this season.

Filed under: Sports
By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Let's also hope that they aren't like the Beatles and tonight won't be "The End".But have heard that Trotz plays a mean drum solo...

By: TITAN1 on 12/31/69 at 6:00

Preds down 3-0, but win in overtime 4-3!