The Nashville Predators take on the St. Louis Blues tonight for what will be their fourth meeting of the season. The Predators have won four of six, while the Blues recently got back on track against the New Jersey Devils. These are always physical, intense affairs, and with the game on Versus its one you're not going to want to miss.
Follow after the jump for the rest of your preview.
Pekka Rinne can be a streaky player, and fortunately for Nashville he's on a hot streak at the moment. He shut out Montreal, only allowed one against Carolina, and made 28 saves in the Columbus loss.
|2010 - Pekka Rinne||14||812||6||6||35||2.59||415||380||.916||2|
It sounds like Ryan Suter is good to go tonight, so let's take a leap of faith and assume they are by inserting them back into the lineup.
Tootoo - Smithson - Ward
The Blues surely must be pleased with the returns on their big offseason trade, but Jaroslav Halak has hit a bit of a rough patch lately.
|2010 - Jaroslav Halak||15||883||9||4||36||2.45||398||362||.910||3|
Winchester - Berglund -D'Agostini
- You might be tired of hearing us talk about the power play, but it will continue to be addressed until some small level of respectability is attained. Few shots are placed on net, regular zone entry is horrible, and player movement is worse. When things are this bad, you can't even use the excuse of injuries to Ryan Suter and Matthew Lombardi. There's no reason a National Hockey League team should struggle to score so greatly with an extra player on the ice. None.
- The Predators were by far the most disciplined team in the NHL in 2009-10, but that ability has been not quite the difference maker it was last year. They're 5th in the league in penalty minutes per game at 10.8, but they've shown a propensity to take horrible penalties at horrible times. Martin Erat's holding penalty late against Columbus was a prime example. St. Louis is a rough-and-tumble outfit, and you can be sure they'll try to get underneath Nashville's skin - converting on these power plays is important, but so too is staying out of the box themselves.
- While the common cry of "its only x amount of games into the season!" carries some validity, its not really a good card to play all the time, especially against division rivals. The more points the Predators accrue in games like tonight, the less worries they'll have down the road.
- For Nashville, there are really no better choices for their leadership group - Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, and Steve Sullivan are without doubt the engines that turn the team's gears. That said, its more than a little disappointing to see less "leadership by example" on the ice from guys that are typically known for their effort, such as Joel Ward or Colin Wilson. As Barry Trotz told the Associated Press after Monday's game, Nashville simply "had too many guys who were passengers".
- If you're going to the game, (and if not, its not too late - OtF has your discounted tickets ready to go.) be ready to be loud. It's Nashville's only national TV appearance of the regular season, so both the team and the fans need to show up.
- I'll be covering tonight's game from press row at Bridgestone Arena, so check back tonight for in-game coverage and postgame reaction with player quotes, highlights, and your recap.