TIME: Tuesday, 8 p.m. EDT.
Tomas Vokoun has helped Nashville to its most successful season in its eight-year history.
Now the Predators will have continue without their starting goaltender for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs starting with Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Blues.
Vokoun has not played since April 1 with what the team called a sore back. On Monday, it was revealed that Vokoun was hospitalized three days earlier with life-threatening blood clots in his abdomen and pelvis.
He was put on blood-thinning shots and pills to reduce the clots. Predators general manager David Poile said a full recovery is expected.
Vokoun played in 61 of the Predators' first 74 games this season. He ranked fifth in the NHL with a record of 36-18-7 and was 9-4-2 since returning from the Olympics, where he helped the Czech Republic win a bronze medal.
With Vokoun out, Nashville will go with Chris Mason and 6-foot-5 rookie Pekka Rinne - neither of whom has played in an NHL playoff game.
"I'm pretty confident in myself, especially with the guys here. It's just a matter of ... getting on a roll and just keep going," Mason said.
Since taking over for Vokoun, Mason is 2-1-0 with 1.76 goals-against average and .927 save percentage. One of those games was an 18-save performance in a 3-0 win Thursday against St. Louis.
Mason followed that helping Nashville clinch a playoff spot for the second straight season. He made 23 saves before turning aside two shootout attempts Saturday in a 2-1 win over Chicago.
Nashville is trying to reach the 100-point mark for the first time in franchise history and can do so with a win over St. Louis. A victory also would complete an eight-game season-series sweep of the Predators' Central Division rivals.
After snapping a franchise-record 13-game losing streak, the Blues will try to win consecutive games for the first time since immediately before and after the Olympics.
Jason Bacashihua made 36 saves, carrying a shutout into the final minute of a 2-1 victory Sunday over Edmonton.
"It's been a while since we got a 'W'," Bacashihua said. "It was a good way to get one."
Bacashihua and Reinhard Divis have split the goaltending duties with starter Curtis Sanford (MCL sprain) and backup Patrick Lalime (torn ACL) out for the season.
Jamal Mayers and Mark Rycroft scored for St. Louis.
STANDINGS: Predators - 98 points, 2nd place, 18 PB, Central Division. Blues - 56 points, 5th place, 60 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Steve Sullivan, 31 goals; Paul Kariya, 50 assists and 78 points; Brendan Witt, 185 PIM. Blues - Scott Young, 17 goals, 31 assists and 48 points; Barret Jackman, 156 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Predators - Power play: 18.2 percent (89 for 488), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (424 for 502), 5th. Blues - Power play: 15.1 percent (74 for 491), 25th. Penalty killing: 81.6 percent (360 for 441), 21th.
GOALTENDERS: Predators - Mason (8-5-1, 1 SO, 2.80 GAA); Rinne (1-1-0, 0, 3.81). Blues - Bacashihua (4-6-0, 0, 3.43); Divis (0-5-1, 0, 4.67).
SEASON SERIES: Predators, 7-0.
LAST MEETING: April 6; Predators, 3-0. At St. Louis, Yanic Perreault assisted on goals by Kimmo Timonen, Shea Weber and Kariya.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 16-17-7 on the road; Blues - 12-20-6 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|