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Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues Preview: Climb and Maintain

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The Preds embark on a two-game trip with their fathers on the annual Father’s Trip. First stop: St. Louis.

Tonight, the Nashville Predators face last year’s second-round opponents, the St. Louis Blues. The last time we saw the Blues was in the handshake line at Bridgestone Arena.

Since then, the Blues have lost several familiar pieces. Tough man Ryan Reaves went to the Penguins, David Perron was taken in the NHL Expansion Draft, Jori Lehtera is now playing for Philly, and Nail Yakupov is part of the Avalanche. In the Lehtera trade, the Blues picked up center Brayden Schenn from Philadelphia.

It’s safe to say the Blues have started the season with a bang. They are 16-5-1, a ridiculous record good for first in the Central division. They have some of the league’s top goal scorers in Jaden Schwartz and Brayden Schenn.

St. Louis scored eight goals at home against Edmonton on Tuesday evening. They have had three days off before tonight’s tilt against the Predators.

Wednesday’s game for the Predators was incredibly boring. Two crucial Forsberg goals, massive Rinne saves, and a Turris shootout goal gave Nashville two points over the struggling Canadiens.

Tonight’s game and Sunday’s contest against Carolina are part of the annual Father’s Trip. Be prepared for adorable photos on social media of your favorite Predators and their dads!

While it will be huge to get the injured Yannick Weber and Scott Hartnell back on the ice, it’s awesome to see the depth of Nashville right now.

The St. Louis Blues

New coach Mike Yeo has taken his Blues from average to exceptional in the first quarter of the 2017-2018 season.

As mentioned above, the Blues are off to an insanely fast start. They’ve been at the top of the Central division for the last 20 games…and they’re showing no signs of slacking off as we head into December.

Plenty of injuries have plagued the Blues, although it’s clearly not affecting their team play. Robby Fabbri is probably out for the entire season with a knee injury. Patrik Berglund sustained a shoulder injury, but is on track to join the team around December.

Schwartz and Schenn lead the Blues with 30 points each, followed closely by Russian winger Vladimir Tarasenko with 26 points. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has 20 points. Several other Blues have double-digit stats.

In fact, Pietrangelo is an early candidate for the Norris trophy. I love watching St. Louis succeed against any opponent except my Predators, so tonight’s game is clearly crucial.

In net, Jake Allen is 12-5-1 with a .909 save percentage. Backup Carter Hutton (hi, Carter) has performed admirably in 5 games with a .943 to show for his efforts.

The Blues are roughly 17% on the power play. Their penalty kill percentage is on par with the league average at 78%.

The Nashville Predators

The Preds are 13-6-2 and firing on all cylinders. It’s been a goal explosion for our boys. They hold the third spot in the Central, right behind Winnipeg and St. Louis.

Filip Forsberg leads all Predators with 21 points, followed by PK Subban and Viktor Arvidsson. The addition of Kyle Turris gave Kevin Fiala and Craig Smith some added fire. Turris himself has 2 goals and 3 assists in five games played since his acquisition.

Among defenseman, Roman Josi has been up to his usual smooth-skating tricks. Mattias Ekholm set a franchise record Monday evening for most goals in consecutive games by a defenseman. He’s had goals in his last four games.

Our tall friend Rinne has a .922 in sixteen games played.

It appears the Preds are rolling right along with seven wins in eight games. However, the most glaring issue is the “turtling” seen on the ice late in the game. Blown leads are incredibly frustrating to every single fan, the Predators themselves, and the coaching staff.

There’s been an improvement since the Minnesota game, but there’s still visible turtling and that absolutely has to stop.

The Power Play Dance

My husband and I went to St. Louis last season for a Predators game At some point, St. Louis went on the power play and all the fans started to do this weird dance. They held up their arms like they were making a touchdown sign and danced. We, being used to Fang Fingers, asked a St. Louis fan what the heck they were doing for the power play dance…he had no idea.

My friends and I even made fun of the Blues during the playoffs last season by doing this dance when the Preds went on the power play at Bridgestone.

I finally found my answer when researching the Blues for this PreCap. Here it is for your reading pleasure.

Keep an eye out for this dancing if St. Louis goes on the power play...which, in all likelihood, they will. Nashville is the most penalized team in the League right now. Gross.

Memories and Feelings

The Preds and Blues faced off in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time last season. It was a tough, grinding series full of big hits and huge goals. Fiala’s gruesome injury was made better by a six game series win at home in Bridgestone, with Fiala himself rallying the crowd while on crutches. (I might have cried).

St Louis Blues v Nashville Predators - Game Six Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Goals by The Handsomest Captain Roman Josi and Ryan Johansen put the Preds up 2-1 over the Blues in Game 6, and Calle Jarnkrok sealed the victory with an empty-net tap in. This win put the Predators in the Western Conference Final for the first time in franchise history. Glorious.

Reasons to Watch

-Hi, Carter Hutton.

-Holiday hockey!

Tonight’s Theme Song

“Keep it 100” by Grandtheft and Keys N Krates. Nashville has to forget about Wednesday’s game and be ready to face the dangerous Blues.

How to Watch

Enjoy some leftover turkey and dressing and pie and tune in! Puck drop in St. Louis is at 7 pm Central. Fox Sports-TN will feature Willy Daunic and Chris Mason, and 102.5 The Game has the radio call.