ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 30: Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators makes a save against Patrik Berglund #21 of the St. Louis Blues during a shoot out at the Scottrade Center on December 30, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Predators beat the Blues 2-1 in a shoot out. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Life doesn't get any easier for the post all-star break Nashville Predators. After trips to Minnesota and Philadelphia, the Predators come back home to Nashville tonight to face one of the surprise teams in the Central Division: The St. Louis Blues (7:00 CT; 102.5 The Game).
The Predators and Blues are two of the hottest teams in the league coming into tonight's game. St. Louis has won nine of its last 12 games, and the Predators have only lost three times in their last 16. The two teams are also just a point apart in the standings, so tonight's game is as critical a game as the Predators will play in the Central Division this year.
More after the jump:
The St. Louis Blues
The 2011-2012 Blues look much like the Predators of old. They lead the league in goals against, but are just 22nd in goals for and their powerplay has struggled. A big part of their success belongs to the play of this guy:
|2011 - Brian Elliott||23||1349||15||5||38||1.69||608||570||.938||5|
The Predators are 3-0 against the Blues this year, but all three games were tightly contested, and with both sides getting quality play from their goaltenders and defenseman, there's no reason to believe tonight's game will be any different.
For a Blues perspective on tonight's game, be sure to check out St. Louis Game Time.
The Predators are finally getting healthy again, and Barry Trotz has had to make some tough decisions lately on who to dress and who to scratch. Brandon Yip got the scratch against Philadelphia in favor of Jerred Smithson, but the Yip-Smith-Halischuk combo played solid minutes against Minnesota. Who should Trotz go with tonight? Sound off in the comments below.
But the key to tonight's game will be Nashville's $7 million man.
|2011 - Pekka Rinne||46||2628||29||11||105||2.40||1374||1269||.924||4|
According to Jacob Underwood on twitter (a fantastic follow for Preds fans):
With 3+ days of rest, Pekka Rinne is 3-3 with a 3.68 GAA and .880 SVS%.
In a game between two teams like the Predators and the Blues, goals will be at a premium, so Rinne will have to be on his game for Nashville to have a chance.