Nashville Predators vs St. Louis Blues Preview: Happy Hockey MLK Day

Frederick Breedon

The Blues came on strong last year to take their first Central Division title since 2000. Can the Predators slow down Ken Hitchcock's juggernaut?

Remember folks, it's a 5:00 p.m. Monday afternoon start for this one, as the Predators host their traditional Martin Luther King Day game. The Preds are 3-4-0 all-time on the holiday, after having beaten the Islanders last year 3-1.

Need tickets to the Blues & Preds on MLK Day? Check out TiqIQ!

The Stats

Since it's too early for the stats to mean much, let's review the numbers from last season:

St Louis Blues Nashville Predators
Record 49-22-11 3rd 48-28-6 5th
Goals For/Game 2.51 21st 2.83 8th
Goals Against/Game 1.89 1st 2.50 10th
5-on-5 Shots For/60 Min. 30.2 10th 27.4 24th
5-on-5 Shots Against/60 26.0 1st 30.5 25th
Fenwick Close 55.07 1st 46.08 29th
5-on-5 Save % .936 1st .924 7th
5-on-4 GF/60 5.8 17th 7.6 1st
# of PP's/Gm 3.29 15th 3.05 26th
4-on-5 GA/60 4.7 5th 6.1 15th
# of PK's/Gm 3.44 19th 2.98 6th

Even setting aside the career year that Brian Elliott had in the Blues' net, the St. Louis skaters carried the flow of play at a dominating level. The Preds went 4-1-1 against the Blues last season, however, so they certainly shouldn't lack for confidence.

Last Time Out

While the Predators ground out a shootout loss to the Blue Jackets, St. Louis demolished Detroit in their home opener 6-0, turning Blues fans all giddy. Not that I blame them, we'd be giddy too if a rookie stepped into the lineup and scored twice in his first game, including this doozy:


Who to Watch Out For

Besides rookie Vladimir Tarasenko, who is seen above, keep an eye on these Blues:


Chris Stewart

#25 / Right Wing / St. Louis Blues

6-2

228

Oct 30, 1987


Stewart scored twice on Saturday and adds depth to a talented group of forwards that includes David Perron, T.J. Oshie, and David Backes.


Alex Pietrangelo

#27 / Defenseman / St. Louis Blues

6-3

206

Jan 18, 1990


After finishing 4th in the Norris Trophy voting last season, Pietrangelo is primed to make a run for the prize this year, in just his 3rd full NHL season.

Preds Primer

Due to the early start there won't be a morning skate, so we may have to wait until late afternoon before hearing about any potential lineup changes. With Vic Bartley heading back to Milwaukee, the possilbilities include Richard Clune possibly getting a chance to play instead of McGrattan, or Jonathon Blum getting some work on defense. The lines on Saturday started out as follows:

Sergei Kostitsyn Mike Fisher Martin Erat
Craig Smith David Legwand Patric Hornqvist
Colin Wilson Paul Gaustad Matt Halischuk
Brian McGrattan Nick Spaling Brandon Yip

In the third period, however, Smith's ice time was slashed, and Wilson got the chance to play alongside Legwand and Hornqvist. The defense was largely as follows:

Roman Josi Shea Weber
Scott Hannan Kevin Klein
Hal Gill Ryan Ellis

So what do you think, will Barry Trotz shuffle the deck at all?

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