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Predators secure playoffs home-ice advantage

Despite a very challenging environment this year due to injuries, the Predators have succeeded in earning home-ice advantage for the 2016-17 season. With only one game left on the schedule, Nashville is poised to finish in 3rd or 4th position in the West.

The Predators will finish third if they win their last game or if the Avalanche loses their last game. However, since the Avalanche are winning their division, Nashville can only end up as the fourth seed in the West. The chase for the fifth spot, which will be the Predator's opponents in the first round, is still in contention: the Ducks, the Sharks and the Flames can still earn it.

While Nashville is very proud of its late season surge, it has been a very difficult ascension. The team has had to deal with injuries with several key players. On defense, Klein will have missed 22 regular season games, Wiesniewski missed 33 regular season games and Klefbom will have missed 30 regular season games. Up front, Schwartz missed 35 regular season games. Pretty much all the other players have also missed time to injuries: since 2010-11, Nashvile always had at least 8 players play 80 games or more through the year while this season only 2 players will hit that mark.

Unfortunately, the Predators will face a similar situation entering the playoffs. Klein was injured again late in the season for extensive time which likely puts him out until next season. Klefbom is a couple weeks away and will likely not play during the first round. Nugent-Hopkins will likely heal either for the first round.

Considering the situation, the Predators will likely rely on defensive play as they have all season allowing a low number of shots and goals. As well, they hope to count on a bit more offensive contribution as they have had one of the lowest SH% in the league (11th in SF but 23rd in GF). Between the pipes, they will rely on Cam Talbot to keep up his stellar performance and keep the scoring tight.