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Blues and Predators each try for 3-0-0 start

by John Kreiser

BLUES (2-0-0) at PREDATORS (2-0-0)

TV -- FSN-Midwest

Season series -- The Central Division rivals play for the first of six times this season. The Predators dominated the series between the clubs last season, winning five of six meetings, including two of three at Bridgestone Arena.

Big story -- Both team know they need to get off to good starts in the tough Western Conference -- and so far, they've done just that. Both teams have a home victory against the Anaheim Ducks, while the Blues opened their season with a 2-1 overtime victory against Philadelphia at home and the Predators come back to Nashville after Wednesday's emotional 3-2 win at Chicago, the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last spring.

Team Scope:

Predators -- When goaltender Pekka Rinne went down with a lower-body injury in the third period on Saturday, the Predators were forced to use rookie Anders Lindback, a 22-year-old Swedish rookie playing in his first NHL game. Lindback then made his debut as a starter on Wednesday at Chicago and more than held his own -- shutting down the Stanley Cup champs in the final two periods as his teammates rallied for a 3-2 victory in Chicago.

"I felt comfortable when I came out and felt more comfortable as the game went on," said Lindback, who finished with 23 saves.

Blues -- The Blues have to be thrilled with their big summertime addition. Goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who was acquired from Montreal, has allowed just one goal in each of his first two starts. He was superb in the win against Philadelphia and had to make just 13 saves in the victory against Anaheim.

Halak has benefited from a balanced attack -- six players have accounted for the Blues' seven goals, and 13 players have at least one point but no one has more than two.

Who's hot -- Nashville's Steve Sullivan has goals in both of the Predators' games. … Matt. D'Agostini is one of five Blues with 2 points, but the only one who's scored twice.

Injury report -- Rinne is still out with a lower-body injury. … Blues forward Cam Janssen isn't expected back for a couple of weeks after sustaining a concussion in the victory against Philadelphia on Saturday.

Stat pack -- The Blues won't miss Rinne, who was 5-1-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average against them last season. … St. Louis' 53 shots on goal against Anaheim was the most the Blues have had in a game since 1992, when they set the franchise mark of 54 in a victory against Washington.

Puck drop -- The Predators have to resist the temptation to relax after their emotional victory in Chicago, especially against a team that's been off since Monday. The Blues are looking for their first 3-0-0 start since 1994 and are coming off one of their most dominant performances in recent years.

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