Big weekend helps Preds rebound

Sunday, March 16, 2008 at 5:26pm

Just when it looked like the playoff door was shutting, the Nashville Predators found a way to rebound once again.

After falling 4-1 Thursday night to the Los Angeles Kings, the worst team in the NHL, the Predators bounced back in a big way Saturday afternoon with a 3-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe Louis Arena. The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Predators.

This illogical season continues Tuesday night when Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals visit the Sommet Center for at 7. This will be the last game of the season against an Eastern Conference team.

The Predators remain in ninth place, two points behind Vancouver in eighth.

“We want to do well,” said center Scott Nichol. “We want to keep playing. This is an exciting team. If any team can do it we can. We have grown as a team and we have nine games left.

“This is why we have played 73 games. This is why we travel to Dallas one night and then play the next night in Colorado back-to-back in January.”

Nichol thinks the fact the Predators are only two points out of the playoffs at this stage is a testament to the way the team has overcome adversity on a variety of fronts this season.

“Everybody wrote us off before Halloween because we were 2-6 at the beginning of year. We clawed and battled. We are still right there. We are still hanging on.”

Goaltender Dan Ellis turned back 34 of 35 shots to beat the Red Wings. It was his second start against the Red Wings. He has held them to 1.53 goals per game and is 1-1 in the series. Ellis has held opponents to two goals or fewer in five of his last seven games. He is 16-1-0 when the Predators score at least three goals.

Ellis has started seven of the last eight games for the Predators. He is 4-3 in that stretch.

“We played with more of a sense of urgency,” Ellis said. “We know we have to bring more passion to the games. Some guys looked a little tired in the Los Angeles game. We have to see the opportunity that we have. We have nine games remaining."

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