Predators @ Blues Preview: Nashville wraps up 2011 in St. Louis

The Nashville Predators head out to St. Louis for the final game of the 2011 calendar year, with their 3rd match against the Blues this season (7:00 p.m. on FS-TN). So far, the Preds have gone 6-2-2 against other Central Division rivals - can they continue racking up the points against a dangerous St. Louis squad?

Follow after the jump for the breakdown...

Come see the Preds battle Calgary at 5 p.m. on New Year's Day! Take the OTF Discount and save!

Tale Of The Tape

Nashville (19-14-4) at St. Louis (21-11-4)
NSH Offense vs. STL Defense STL Offense vs. NSH Defense
5-on-5
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
NSH Offense 2.1 (24th) 26.0 (28th) 8.2 (18th) 2.4 (10th) 31.0 (26th) 921 (11th) NSH Defense
STL Defense 1.7 (1st) 25.4 (1st) 932 (6th) 2.5 (13th) 30.9 (8th) 8.0 (21st) STL Offense
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %
Special Teams
NSH PP vs. STL PK STL PP vs. NSH PK
GF/60 SF/60 Shoot % GA/60 SA/60 Save %
NSH 5-on-4 7.1 (5th) 52.1 (10th) 13.6 (7th) 7.1 (22nd) 53.7 (24th) 869 (19th) NSH 4-on-5
STL 4-on-5 6.5 (17th) 48.6 (10th) 867 (20th) 4.6 (25th) 43.5 (24th) 10.5 (21st) STL 5-on-4
GA/60 SA/60 Save % GF/60 SF/60 Shoot %

Ken Hitchcock has the Blues playing his typical stingy defensive style, and on balance, they out-shoot their opponents by roughly the same margin by which the Preds get out-shot by theirs.

St. Louis Blues

At the beginning of the season I was worried about the Blues battling side-by-side with the Predators for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference, but St. Louis looks more like a team that will be in the fight for home-ice advantage in the first round, or perhaps the Central Division title instead. Their strength lies in a deep group of quality forwards, which was bolstered by the return of David Perron earlier this month, after a long concussion-related absence:


David Perron

#57 / Left Wing / St. Louis Blues

6-0

200

May 28, 1988



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2011 - David Perron 11 2 8 10 0 6 0 0 1 18 11.1

The Blues have also won six straight on home ice, so the Preds will have their hands full tonight.


St. Louis Blues Last 5 Games

@ Detroit Tue 12/27 L 2 - 3
Dallas Mon 12/26 W 5 - 3
@ Phoenix Fri 12/23 W 3 - 2
@ Colorado Wed 12/21 L 2 - 3
Columbus Sun 12/18 W 6 - 4


St. Louis Blues Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
T.J. Oshie wrist 12/28/2011
Jamie Langenbrunner other-excused 12/28/2011

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kent Huskins ankle 10/29/2011
Vladimir Sobotka ankle 12/11/2011
Kris Russell groin 12/28/2011
Andy McDonald concussion 10/14/2011
Ryan Reaves hip 12/27/2011

Nashville Predators

Despite the Blues' better overall record, the Predators have beaten St. Louis in their two previous meetings this season, 4-2 in St. Louis on October 8, and a 2-1 shootout win in Nashville on December 17.

Kevin Klein is still out for this one with the flu (two weeks now?) and captain Shea Weber has been ruled out as he recovers from his concussion (no, there's still no timetable for his return). That places a greater burden on Ryan Suter, but he appears to be up to the task so far.


Ryan Suter

#20 / Defenseman / Nashville Predators

6-1

198

Jan 21, 1985



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2011 - Ryan Suter 37 5 19 24 +8 26 3 1 1 77 6.4

Hmm... I wonder if he can grow a beard, too?

Among the forwards, the most interesting situation for me is whether we're going to see more of Gabriel Bourque. His energy level Wednesday night was off-the-charts good, leading to two questions - 1) how much of that was NHL-debut adrenaline, and 2) what might he do on a more offensively-oriented line?

If you're on Twitter, keep your eye on the 3 Preds bloggers who are making the road trip for today's game: @hockeynightNSH, @puckscenedotcom, and @Cellblock303.

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