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The holiday break ends rather abruptly for the Nashville Predators, as they get back to work tonight against the St. Louis Blues. Its already the fifth matchup of the year between the two teams, they having split the first four games. The Predators are on a 3 game losing streak, while the Blues are riding high after beating the Red Wings.
After the jump, your lineups and pregame thoughts, written from a dessert-induced coma.
Barry Trotz said before the loss to Ottawa that the team would go with Pekka for the next three games, of which tonight is the 2nd.
|2010 - Pekka Rinne||20||1145||8||8||45||2.36||557||512||.919||3|
Trotz also said that David Legwand could return after Christmas, but my guess would be we see him again on Tuesday instead of tonight. With the Christmas roster freeze, too, we also have no idea if there have been any recalls due to the injuries to Martin Erat and Steve Sullivan. This lineup is very much in a "wait and see" mode.
Halak is coming off a dominant performance against Detroit, so I assume he'll get the call again tonight.
|2010 - Jaroslav Halak||27||1607||13||10||65||2.43||741||676||.912||3|
St. Louis has been hit by the injury bug perhaps harder than the Predators - they're currently missing key forwards T.J. Oshie, David Perron, and Andy McDonald, the latter two due to concussions, which as we know, are difficult to put a time frame on.
- The Blues finally have their full complement of defenders back, and good for them, because there are some extremely talented players on the St. Louis blueline. That said, they give up .30 more goals per game than Nashville, and don't have a single player remotely close to the talent levels of Shea Weber or Ryan Suter. The Predators are blessed with an advantage defensively almost every time they step on to the ice - that needs to be even more apparent tonight.
- Although they started off with their hair on fire, St. Louis (along with Columbus) has come falling back to earth, and now sit at 10th in the conference (the Preds currently reside in 8th). Not only does Nashville need to end their slide, but putting space between them and division rivals would be an important accomplishment this early in the season.
- Cal O`Reilly leads the Predators with 4 points against the Blues this year, but is heading into this one having played a meager 7:02 in the loss to Ottawa. Sure, the injuries to Sullivan and Erat probably displaced him somewhat, but it seems as if he's getting the "Dumont Treatment" - a trip to Barry Trotz's doghouse.
- ...yep, that's all you get, sorry - I'm writing on Christmas Day, after all. Enjoy the game, everyone, and go Preds.