Nashville Predators @ St. Louis Blues: 7pm CDT
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10-08-2011, 08:26 AM
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Nashville Predators @ St. Louis Blues: 7pm CDT
St. Louis, Missouri
Wilson - Legwand - Smith
Erat - Spaling - Kostitsyn
Tootoo - O'Reilly - Halischuk
Smithson - Geoffion - Hornqvist
Weber - Suter
Klein - Blum
Laakso - Hillen
Coach Barry Trotz
St. Louis Blues
McDonald - Backes - Langenbrunner
Oshie - Berglund - Stewart
Steen - Arnott - D'Agostini
Sobotka - Nichol - Reaves
Colaiacovo - Pietrangelo
Jackman - Shattenkirk
Nikitin - Polak
Coach Davis Payne
Nashville takes on the St. Louis tonight at the Scottrade Center in the second of back-to-back games against Central Division foes, with the first coming last night in Columbus. Tonight’s game marks the fifth-time in franchise history the Predators have opened the season with back-to-back games, and the first-ever back-to-back opening against Central Division teams.
During the 2010-11 season, Nashville and St. Louis faced off five times in the season’s first three months, including four times in Nashville’s first 20 games. Nashville posted a 2-3-1 record against the Bluenotes a season ago and is 37-28-10 all-time against St. Louis in the Gateway City.
The Predators and Blues closed out their 2010-11 season series in the final regular season game for both squads on April 9. It was a low-scoring affair, as St. Louis claimed a 2-0 victory, the night after the Preds had clinched their sixth postseason berth in the past seven campaigns. Nashville fell to St. Louis by the same score the day after Christmas at Scottrade Center. Nashville’s two victories in the series came on Nov. 11 as Marcel Goc netted the shootout winner in St. Louis, giving the Predators a 3-2 win, and on Oct. 14 when Nashville scored three goals in the opening frame, saw the Blues battled back, with Patric Hornqvist eventually notching the game winner in the waning minutes of the second-period, giving Nashville the 4-3 victory.
On Scottrade Center ice, the Predators have won five-of-seven matchups since Feb. 21, 2010, with four of the five victories decided by a single goal; two were shootout wins and another came in overtime.
Tight battles have been a trend between these two Central Division rivals with 14 of the last 21 meetings decided by one goal. Nashville is 14-7-0 in the Gateway City since 2005-06, and holds a 29-9-4 overall record in that span. The series has required a franchise-high 20 overtime periods to decide a winner. The Predators are 10-6-4 in those games, with all 10 wins coming since the 2005-06 season. Additionally, nine of those 20 games have gone to a shootout, tying Nashville and St. Louis for the League lead during that span. Nashville has a 6-3 record in shootouts against St. Louis.
Cal O’Reilly led all Predators in points against St. Louis a season ago with four (1g-3a) in five games. He scored Nashville’s first goal and added a shootout marker in Nashville’s shootout win on Nov. 11. The Varna, Ont., native tied a career high in points/assists with three helpers on Oct. 14... Hornqvist has nine points (4g-5a) in 12 career games against the Blues. He made his NHL debut against the Blues on Oct. 10, 2008, and notched a career-high three assists in a 3-2 victory at Scottrade Center on April 1, 2010… Jordin Tootoo has seen more offensive success against the Blues than any other NHL team. He has 13 points (6g-7a) in 33 career games against St. Louis – he has no more than three goals against any other club. Tootoo also has racked up 89 career penalty minutes against the Blues – the second-most for a single player against a team in franchise history.
Preview Provided by Inside Smashville
The Nashville Predators try to make it 2-0-0 on the season as they take on the St. Louis Blues Saturday night at Scottrade Center.
During the off season, the Blues added some familiar faces to Nashville fans when they signed Scott Nichol and former captain Jason Arnott.
Saturday’s game marks the first one of the season for the Blues.
The Blues are looking for a third straight win against Nashville. Standing in their way is Vezina nominated goaltender Pekka Rinne. However, a season ago, Rinne’s record against the Blues was 1-3-1, despite just a 1.75 GAA.
Rinne has been battling the stomach flu, though he did play on Friday. Rinne made 32 saves as the Predators skated to a 3-2 win over their Central Division rivals, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Ryan Suter, Craig Smith and Matt Halischuk provided the offense in Nashville’s win. The victory marked the third year in a row the Predators won their season opener.
The Predators killed off all five minor penalties called against them Friday night and scored a power play goal to start the season strong in terms of special teams. While there was a lot to build off of in Friday’s win, two Predators spoke about the need to stay focused.
Matt Halischuk says the team looks forward to Saturday night’s contest. “We need to take the positives from tonight and carry them over to St. Louis. Everyone is excited that we get another home opener. The building is going to be great,” Halischuk said after Friday’s tilt in Columbus.
Center Nick Spaling added that “the first game doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win the next one. We want to finish this road trip off right.”
Saturday night’s game starts at 7 pm. Nashville doesn’t play at home until Thursday, October 13th against the Phoenix Coyotes.
Radio link on the right
Watch: Fox Sports Tennessee
Official Preds twitter
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