Tonight is the first time St. Louis will be back at Bridgestone after losing to the Predators in last year’s second round playoff tilt. The Predators have faced the Blues twice this season at Scottrade Center, winning both contests. Tonight’s game and an additional game at the end of the month will be the final two meetings with the Blues until the postseason.
Perhaps we can get through this game without mentioning Kevin Fiala’s awful injury last season against the Blues.
After taking points in each of last week’s road games, the Predators can settle in for some home cooking and more points this week.
The St. Louis Blues
As mentioned above, the Central Division remains as tightly contested as ever. The Blues have been plugging along this season, even with big names out with big injuries.
The Blues lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday at home.
Perhaps the most interesting story in the world of the Blues is that of Carter Hutton. Our former backup and current “backup” to Jake Allen has been on fire this season. He has better numbers than Allen, boasting a .944 save percentage to Allen’s .908. Hutton has played 25 games and Allen has played 40, but it almost seems like coach Mike Yeo is going with Hutton’s hot hand more than Allen’s sometimes-shaky netminding. Needless to say, we are thrilled with Hutton’s performance in St. Louis. Could he be gunning for a starting gig with another team next season?
Check out Hutton’s insane pad save on a OT breakaway from the New Jersey Devils:
Brayden Schenn leads the Blues in points with 53 (23 goals and 30 assists). Lethal sniper Vladimir Tarasenko has 49 points, including 23 goals of his own. Jayden Schwartz has 40 points, and Alexander Pietrangelo leads St. Louis d-men in points with 37.
St. Louis has been brought up in conversation as an all-in team seeking forward depth at the trade deadline. Who isn’t looking for forward depth right now?
Defenseman Joel Edmundson is out for at least six weeks with an arm injury.
The Blues are 34-21-3 this season. With a potential trade and continued momentum, the Blues will be a postseason threat to any team they face.
The Nashville Predators
On Monday, Mike Fisher skated with the team for the first time. He led stretches and is getting back into game shape. There is no timetable for his return, but it’s fair to say many are excited for Fisher to put on a jersey and get back on the ice.
The Predators took points in each of their four road games last week, but each contest required additional time to seal the deal. Will Coach Laviolette’s line roulette continue into tonight’s game, or will we see more typical lines now that Filip Forsberg is back in the lineup?
The penalty box played a big role in several of the last few games. Ill-advised penalties put the Predators on the penalty kill far too often. When the Predators were on the power play, nothing happened. Whether it’s a systemic thing or whether the Atlantic Division teams are better penalty killers, I’m not sure. However, the Preds most certainly need to take advantage of every PP they can get...especially against powerhouse Central teams like St. Louis.
Pekka Rinne was the only reason the Predators secured a shootout win in Montreal on Saturday. He made ten saves in overtime alone. Regardless of which goaltender occupies the crease, the Predators have to play better in front of their goalie and stop relying on Rinne’s glove to make saves.
Memories and Feelings
- Here’s a nice memory (again):
Reasons to Watch
- A solid homestead for our Predators requires a massive crowd in Bridgestone.
- It’s a guarantee that there will be a ridiculously large number of Blues fans in the crowd...let’s keep them quiet tonight.
Tonight’s Theme Song
“Somewhere on a Beach” by Dierks Bentley. I’m not sure about you, but I’m kinda sick of the cold weather. Warmer weather brings sunshine, flowers, driving with the windows down, outside activities, the playoffs, Plaza Parties, gold everywhere, outside viewing parties, etc etc etc.
How to Watch
Tonight’s game broadcast is on Fox Sports-TN, and you can hear the live call on 102.5 The Game. Puck drop is at the regular time of 7 pm Central.