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Game Day Blog: Preds at St. Louis Blues

Sunday, 03.21.2010 / 1:44 PM CT / Preview
By Tom Callahan  - Nashville Predators
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Game Day Blog: Preds at St. Louis Blues
Game Preview
Nashville Predators at St. Louis Blues
5 pm CST
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (HD)  |  Radio: 104.5 The Zone, Predators Radio Network

Two teams coming off 1-0 shutout wins last night meet (me) in St. Louis as the Blue blanked the Devils on the road Saturday night and the Predators won in overtime against the Blue Jackets at home. Both teams had travel and a lack of ice time this morning, so the playing field will be fairly level.

The Blues have experienced a resurgence under new head coach Davis Payne, who has guided his club to wins in 9 of the last 12 games and has them looking at the playoffs as a real possibility. Just as they did last season, St. Louis is making a late charge toward respectability and a possible playoff berth. At this point, however, chances are far slimmer than they were at this point last year when the team reached as high as sixth before just getting in under the wire and getting swept in the first round.

Coming into today’s game, Nashville sits in sixth place tied with the LA Kings (who are listed fifth due to having played two less games) at 87 points. The Blues have 77 points in 10th and are six back of the Detroit Red Wings, who occupy the eighth and final spot with 83. For the Blues to be able to make the playoffs, they have to win at least two of their three remaining games against Nashville and keep playing as well as they have on this recent stretch.

Goaltending will be key for either side, as Nashville goes back with Pekka Rinne today after he earned the win last night. St. Louis may opt to come back with Chris Mason against the Predators today despite Ty Conklin’s shutout performance last night due to travel and the fact that Mason always seems to play well against his former club.

Jason Arnott is doubtful for today’s game, and the Predators are nursing various other bumps and bruises for tonight, which may see the insertion of Cal O’Reilly or Wade Belak – and possibly both. St. Louis defenseman Roman Polak appeared to hurt his shoulder in a collision against the Devils, and his status is unknown for today’s game.

Notes:
  • Pekka Rinne has not allowed a goal in three of his last five starts, and now has 12 career shutouts. His current streak of not allowing a goal is just over 131 minutes.
  • Colin Wilson has a point in six of his last eight games (4-4-8).
  • Expect to see Dustin Boyd at center between Wilson and Martin Erat without Jason Arnott in the lineup.
  • Former Predator Paul Karyia scored his 400th NHL goal last Thursday
  • St. Louis’ 22 road victories are the most in the NHL this season, but their 12 home wins ranks the Blues dead last in that department.

Keys to the Game
  • Help your goaltender. Rinne needs to see pucks to stop them, and St. Louis has some bodies that can cause havoc in front of the net. Cleaning out the crease will be very important.
  • Pressure the St. Louis defense to move the puck quickly, and follow through on your checks. Both teams are going to be tired, so the decision-making process may be a bit lackluster. Forcing mistakes with pressure should result in good chances.
  • Strong finish. Nashville varies how the first period goes almost every game – sometimes good, sometimes bad. But they have been able to finish consistently lately, getting better as the game goes on. Once again, the Preds must push all the way through to the end of the game.
SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 52 32 17 3 144 119 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 52 26 19 7 117 122 59
7 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
8 COL 56 27 25 4 149 155 58
9 MIN 53 23 20 10 130 130 56
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 53 21 20 12 123 143 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 53 24 26 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 54 11 27 -3 38
F. Forsberg 54 17 18 -7 35
S. Weber 54 14 21 -5 35
M. Ribeiro 54 6 27 2 33
J. Neal 54 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 54 6 18 3 24
R. Ellis 53 6 16 2 22
C. Smith 54 11 7 -2 18
C. Jarnkrok 53 9 8 0 17
C. Wilson 37 4 12 -1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 18 7 .903 2.54
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36