Nashville Predators vs St. Louis Blues Preview: Fighting the Blahs

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

While Predators fans come to grips with the prospect of their team missing the playoffs, the players themselves still have much to prove over the final eight games, beginning with tonight's visit by the St. Louis Blues.

The Stats

St. Louis Blues Nashville Predators
Record 21-14-2 11th 15-17-8 24th
GF/Game 2.78 10th 2.35 27th
GA/Game 2.62 16th 2.58 15th
5-on-5 SF/60 27.3 19th 25.4 29th
5-on-5 SA/60 24.1 2nd 26.6 6th
Fenwick Close 53.41 6th 47.09 23rd
5-on-5 Save % .900 27th .923 11th
5-on-4 GF/60 8.2 6th 6.1 16th
# of PP's/Gm 3.11 22nd 3.05 25th
4-on-5 GA/60 5.4 7th 7.8 26th
# of PK's/Gm 3.35 14th 3.00 2nd

It's too bad for St. Louis that Brian Elliott realized that he was Brian Elliott again, and their goaltending numbers came back down to earth. The Blues are a pretty solid puck-possession group, but when shots keep leaking through, it undermines team performance.

The Preds are 1-1-1 against St. Louis this season, but they haven't met since a 6-1 road victory by Nashville on February 5th.

St. Louis Blues

St. Louis is one a steady course to the post-season, likely heading out on the road to face Anaheim or the winner of the Northwest Division in the opening round. That's a fair step back from last year's dominating performance during the regular season, which was followed up with a 2nd-round loss to the Los Angeles Kings in a sweep.

The Blues come into tonight's game riding a four-game winning streak, with the most recent being a 1-0 win at Detroit Sunday afternoon. The guy leading the way up front is Chris Stewart, who has enjoyed a healthy rebound from some disappointing goal totals in 2011-2012:


Chris Stewart

#25 / Right Wing / St. Louis Blues

6-2

232

Oct 30, 1987



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Chris Stewart 37 16 14 30 +3 38 4 0 3 71 22.5

Nashville Predators

At this point, the main story line to watch is how the younger guys are performing, and what their chances are of earning a larger role at the NHL level in 2013-2014. Can Taylor Beck continue to produce offensively? Is Victor Bartley a legitimate option to man the 2nd pair with Kevin Klein next season? Might Austin Watson be ready for a 3rd- or 4th-line center spot, supplanting Nick Spaling?

It's also worth noting which veterans are playing well down the stretch, because after a slow start, David Legwand has piled up 16 points in his last 17 games to take over the team scoring lead:


David Legwand

#11 / Center / Nashville Predators

6-2

204

Aug 17, 1980



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - David Legwand 40 11 12 23 +2 20 2 0 2 66 16.7

While some fans embrace the notion that the Predators should slip as far down the standings as possible in order to land a high draft pick, I'm more in the "losing begets losing" camp. I want to see the team finish out the season strong, and given the NHL jobs which are on the line for next season, you can bet that most of the players have a lot on the line over these final weeks.

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