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Predators see West semifinal run as building block

Nashville coach Barry Trotz doesn't want his Predators to forget the pain of losing in the playoffs. Just consider it the necessary pains of growing up in the NHL.

The Predators used an agonizing loss to the eventual Stanley Cup champs in the first round a year ago as motivation throughout this season, and they rode that to the franchise's first opening series victory. Nashville's run finally came to an end Monday night with a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks in six games in their first Western Conference semifinals.

Trotz says his Predators took a couple steps forward, doing everything critics said Nashville couldn't do.

Nashville now faces big challenges in keeping captain Shea Weber and Joel Ward, its top scorer this postseason.