Game Day Preview: St Louis Blues @ Nashville Predators — 12/17/11

Overview:  The Predators (16-11-4) and Blues (18-9-3) are both running on 4 game win streaks and tonight something has to give between 2 of the 4 of good Central Division teams.  During the Nashville 4 game win streak they have defeated Columbus, Anaheim, Calgary, and Detroit, all of which were 1 goal victories.  With the exception of Detroit, those aren’t exactly powerhouse teams.  And if a one goal game is the kind of game they want to play against the Blues tonight they are in for their first loss since their one goal loss against the Coyotes on the 6th.  In fact, the Preds have played 9 consecutive one goal games.

The Blues winning streak has come against a better group of opponents in Detroit, Anaheim, San Jose, and the New York Rangers.  This will be the first road test for the Blues in a long time as they have just finished up a long home stretch of games.  Nashville is finishing up a 4 games at home and have won the first 3.  We are in for another close divisional game with 2 big points on the line

Last Season:  The Blues took 9 points of 12 possible last season against Nashville going 4-1-1.  Among those 4 wins, 2 came on 2-0 shutouts and both losses were by  1 goal.  My favorite moment from any of those games has to be the David Backes empty netter on the day after X-mas to cap off a 2-0 victory on home ice and that goal was the moment I knew he was the next captain of the St Louis Blues.  Dont know the goal?  Go look it up.  The hardest fought empty netter you have ever seen.

The only game between these 2 this season was opening night for the Blues and it was a lacksidasical game to say the least back when Jaro Halak had trouble stopping anything and everything and Nashville took advantage and ruined the opening night festivities with their 4-2 victory.

Injury Report:  Blues- Sobotka, Huskins, Crombeen, McDonald

Preds- No injuries reported

Who’s Hot:  Shea Weber, the number defensemen for the Preds is coming off a 2 goal outing in the last game against Detroit. That was his first multi goal game since October 22, 2009.  He has points in 4 of his last 5 and is 2nd on the team in scoring (8-15-23).

Alex Steen is coming off what could be one of his best games of the season.  He was all over the ice on Thursday night in the 4-1 win over the Rangers.  Steen had a goal and an assist in that game.  He has 7 points in his last 9 games and is a plus 6 in those 9 games.  His +17 rating is tied for 8th in the NHL.

Prediction:  St Louis and Nashville are both teams that like to play close games.  If that’s the game Nashville expects to play tonight then the Blues are in for 2 more points.  The Blues are 8-7 in one goal contests while Nashville is 8-10.  I think this will be a close one goal game but I think the Blues are a better 3rd period team than they ever have been before and that’s when they’ll win this one 3-2.

Other Thoughts:  I miss it being the Gaylord Entertainment Center.. always got a cheap laugh out of that

LGB!

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