The fine folks at National Geographic are always jetting off to exotic, distant locales to film wildlife in it's natural habitat. In these tough economic times, however, shouldn't they be looking closer to home for examples of wild animals in action? Case in point: This season's Western Conference Playoff Hunt. As of this morning, a mere six points separate 6th place Columbus from 11th place Minnesota. That's six teams, separated by six points, fighting for three playoff berths. If that doesn't call to mind images of a pack of wild jackals fighting over a kill, nothing will. Take a look at the picture below. Is this St. Louis, Columbus and Nashville, or Columbus, Nashville and St. Louis? You be the judge:
This is what happens when there isn't enough food (or in this case, playoff berths) to go around. After dropping two big games to St. Louis over the weekend, tonight Columbus will look to pounce on an injury-weakened Nashville squad, while the Predators - minus Martin Erat, David Legwand, Jason Arnott, Ryan Jones and Wade Belak - will fight desperately to avoid becoming prey. Both teams need two points tonight, but that's not going to happen.
Two other games with Western playoff implications:
Vancouver at Minnesota (8:00pm ET) - Simply put, this is a must-win for the Wild, but not for the Canucks. Anything less than a Minnesota win will virtually doom their dwindling playoff hopes. Come on, B.G.O. (Backstrom Gaborik Overdrive)!
Anaheim at Edmonton (9:30pm ET) - Edmonton is only in slightly better shape than Minnesota, standings-wise, so a W at home would both slow a red-hot Ducks team and vault the Oilers over the Ducks and into a virtual tie with St. Louis for 8th. A win for Anaheim, on the other hand, puts them ahead of St. Louis.
Six jackals, and there's only enough food for three: That's what the Western Conference playoff hunt has become. Message to National Geographic: It's not too late to get some primo footage for your next documentary!
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