Originally written on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 3/7/12

One word was repeated when the Predators were asked about the significance of the team’s current three-game homestand: huge. Eight points back of first place St. Louis Blues, the Predators are only four points ahead of sixth place Chicago.

“It is huge. Everytime you are at home it is important, especially now with the playoff race coming down to the wire with teams being so close. These are big games before we head out on the road. We need to take advantage of playing at home,” forward Nick Spaling said.

Nashville dropped a 5-4 decision to Los Angeles on Tuesday night in front of a sold out Bridgestone Arena.

Rookie defenseman Ryan Ellis says while road and home wins are both important, the team wants to impress the home crowd.

“Anytime you are at home it is important. Teams are so close. Every point counts and we don’t want to lose on home ice. Road games and home games are equally as important, but obviously you want to put on a show for the fans and keep them coming back,” Ellis said.

There will be quite the crowd at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night. Less than 240 tickets remained for the game on Wednesday.

When asked about the importance of the current homestand, Ellis replied simply with “It is huge.”

Fellow rookie Craig Smith agrees. “We need to take care of our wins at home. We are trying to catch teams and stay ahead of the pack. These wins at home are getting so crucial because the standings are getting so tight,” he said.

The Predators wrap up their three-game homestand on Saturday night when they host the Detroit Red Wings before heading out on the road for a four-game West Coast swing next week.

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