TIME: Thursday, 8 p.m. EDT.
The Nashville Predators are one of two unbeaten teams left in the NHL. Center Greg Johnson still thinks the best is yet to come from his club.
The Predators hope to remain perfect this season when they host the St. Louis Blues.
At 5-0-0, Nashville is the lone unbeaten team in the Western Conference, joining Ottawa (5-0-0) as the only other team yet to lose.
"I still don't think we're played our best game," Johnson said. "I still feel like we can improve. But we're getting a little better every game."
The Predators, bolstered by the offseason additions of forwards Paul Kariya and Yanic Perreault, appear to be legitimate contenders in the Western Conference.
Nashville trailed in each of its first four wins and was forced into shootouts twice.
"They've got a lot of youth and energy in their lineup," Blues coach Mike Kitchen said. "They've added some veterans in Kariya and Perreault which beefs up their offense. They're a pretty solid team."
Kariya had at least one point in each contest during a three-game road trip that concluded with a 4-1 victory at St. Louis last Saturday.
The combination of Kariya and Steve Sullivan is proving to be one of the best 1-2 punches in the NHL. The duo has combined for six goals and 17 points this season.
Nashville's Tomas Vokoun has won his first four starts this season and improved to 5-10-3 in his career against St. Louis with Saturday's victory.
St. Louis completed a 2-3 homestand with a 3-2 victory over Anaheim on Wednesday. Defenseman Eric Brewer scored with 57 seconds left in the third period to snap a tie and Patrick Lalime turned away 28 shots.
"I was just trying to get it on net and see what happened," Brewer said.
Dean McAmmond and Christian Backman scored on the power play for St. Louis. The goal was the third for McAmmond, one of the players the Blues are looking to for offense this season.
"I said before that I felt I could score 15 to 20 goals," McAmmond said. "But with scoring up the way it is, that might not be enough. I probably need to score 20, 25 to really help."
This is the Blues' first road game since a 5-1 loss at Detroit in the season opener on Oct. 5.
STANDINGS: Blues - 4 points, 3rd place (tied), 10 PB, Central Division. Predators - 10 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Blues - McAmmond and Jamal Mayers, 3 goals; Petr Cajanek, 6 assists and 7 points; Backman, 12 PIM. Predators - Sullivan, 4 goals, 6 assists and 10 points; Kariya, 14 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 18): Blues - Power play: 17.1 percent (6 for 35), 15th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.9 percent (26 for 31), 14th. Predators - Power play: 25.0 percent (7 for 28), 3rd (tied). Penalty killing: 90.0 percent (27 for 30), 5th.
GOALTENDERS: Blues - Lalime (2-4-0, 0 SO, 3.82 GAA); Reinhard Divis (0-0-0, 2.14). Predators - Vokoun (4-0-0, 2.20); Chris Mason (1-0-0, 3.69).
SEASON SERIES: Predators, 1-0.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 15; Predators, 4-1. At St. Louis, Sullivan and Scott Hartnell scored and Johnson added an empty-net tally as Nashville ended a nine-game road winless streak against the Blues.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blues - 0-1-0 on the road; Predators - 2-0-0 at home.
|Apr 11 '06||NSH 2 at STL 0||M. Sillinger|
|Apr 06 '06||NSH 3 at STL 0||K. Timonen|
|Apr 01 '06||STL 1 at NSH 2||M. Erat|
|Mar 20 '06||STL 2 at NSH 4||P. Kariya|
|Jan 04 '06||NSH 4 at STL 3||P. Kariya|
|Nov 12 '05||STL 1 at NSH 3||S. Hartnell|
|Oct 20 '05||STL 2 at NSH 3 - SO||S. Sullivan|
|Oct 15 '05||NSH 4 at STL 1||D. Legwand|