Rise and shine.
The Nashville Predators will be looking for a perfect homestand today as they host the St. Louis Blues in town for a special faceoff at 11:30 a.m. CT at Bridgestone Arena. The morning is the third of four meetings between the division rivals this season; Nashville recorded an overtime win at St. Louis in November before falling to the Blues in January.
A huge week of hockey for the Predators that has seen them win records against Dallas (2-1) and Anaheim (4-1) so far should now culminate in a back-to-back weekend with the Finals tomorrow night in Minnesota . .
But, the Preds are focused on the Blues today, especially with St. Louis currently holding a three-point lead in the division standings as Nashville looks to close the gap – and potentially leapfrog Minnesota – ahead of the end of the day.
“We knew at the start of the week that it was going to be a four-game streak with all the teams in the mix, and that poses challenges in itself,” Preds head coach John Hynes said after Thursday’s win. on Anaheim. “Now we’ve found a way to get four points this week, and you’re playing two Central Division opponents who are ahead of us in the standings and some really good teams playing playoff-style hockey. It’s a great opportunity. for us to play real high stakes games this weekend where we have to be at our best. And if you want to do anything at the end of the season, you have to play your best against the best in high stakes games, and that’s what awaits us this weekend.”
“We look at the standings and it feels like every team is battling someone,” the Preds forward said. Philippe Forsberg said Thursday evening. “[We know St. Louis is] going to be ready to roll, and it’s going to be a very, very fun atmosphere – and Bridgestone will be celebrating.”
The Predators did not practice Friday and instead held off-ice practices and team meetings. Nashville’s roster has remained unchanged Thursday night since the win over Dallas on Tuesday. Defender Mark Borowiecki (day to day) was out once more, and forward Matt Luffas well as blueliner Philip Myershave been scratched.
Video: Duchene and Forsberg with 3 victory points each
The good ones :
Matt Duchene scored twice in Thursday’s 4-1 win over the Ducks and is just one away from reaching the 30-goal mark. Forsberg and Colton Sissons also found the back of the net and the keeper Juuse Saros picked up his 28th victory of the campaign.
Captain Preds Romain Josi continues to lead the club with 61 points (15g-46a), followed by Duchene with 54 points (29g-25a) and Forsberg with 49 points (28g-21a). Mikael Granlund has 34 assists and 43 points, Ryan Johansen has 14 goals and 41 points, and rookie forward Tanner Jeannot has 18 goals and 33 points to his credit. Saros is 28-17-3 in goal for Nashville; david rittich is 4-2-1.
Video: Matt Duchene recaps his 4-1 win over Anaheim
The Blues ended a four-game skid with a 6-2 win over the New York Rangers on Thursday night. Robert Thomas scored twice in the win, and St. Louis now has 73 points, while the Preds have 70. Jordan Kyrou leads the Blues with 22 goals and 55 points, followed by Vladimir Tarasenko with 49 points (19g-30a ) and Pavel Buchnevich with 46 points (19g-27a). Ville Husso is 14-4-3 in goal for St. Louis; Jordan Binnington is 13-12-3 this season.
The Predators are 59-45-(4)-12 against the Blues, including a 32-17-(3)-7 record at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators are 4-1-0 in their last five games against the Blues; they are 5-4-1 in their last 10; and 3-2-0 in their last five home games.
Nashville has won 12 of its last 18 games against St. Louis — including 10 of its last 15 — and has scored at least four goals in eight of those wins. Nashville held St. Louis without a shot in the third period on February 16, 2008 at Bridgestone Arena; it’s the only time in franchise history that the team hasn’t conceded a shot in a single period.
Video: Coach Hynes recaps 4-1 win over Anaheim
Notables against St. Louis
Roman Josi has 24 points (5g-19a) in 42 career games with the Blues. Ryan Johansen has points in six of his last 10 games against St. Louis, recording three goals and four assists. He has 23 points (10g-13a) in 35 career games against the Blues.
Luc Kounin is from Chesterfield, Mo., and skated in the St. Louis Jr. Blues youth hockey program. Predators assistant coach Dan Hinote played three seasons with the Blues from 2006 to 2009, posting 25 points (11g-14a) in 150 games.
Predators assistant general manager, director of player development and Milwaukee Admirals general manager Scott Nichol concluded his NHL career playing two seasons in St. Louis from 2011 to 2013, appearing in 110 games.
Watch and listen:
Coverage of today’s 11:30 a.m. CT puck drop from Nashville begins at 11 a.m. CT with the Predators Live! pre-match show on Bally Sports South hosted by Lyndsay Rowley and Terry Crisp. Willy Daunic, Chris Mason and Kara Hammer have the call on the TV side, while Pete Weber and Hal Gill will broadcast on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network. Pregame radio coverage begins at 10:30 a.m. with Darren McFarland.