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Blues-Predators Preview @NHL
Blues-Predators Preview

GAME: St. Louis Blues (2-11-3) at Nashville Predators (10-2-3).

TIME: Saturday, 8 p.m. EST.

While the Nashville Predators are feeling pretty good about the way they're playing, the St. Louis Blues could not imagine feeling much worse.

Nashville looks to extend its winning streak to three while St. Louis tries to end its franchise-record losing skid when the teams meet for the third time this season.

The Predators had been shut out on the power play in four straight games, but were 4-for-10 with the advantage Thursday night in a 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars.

"We were able to get it done on the power play," said Steve Sullivan, who returned after missing two games with a groin strain to tally a hat trick - including two power-play goals. "We know we are going to get chances. We started burying them."

After a franchise-best 8-0 start to the season, Nashville lost its next five games. The Predators now seem to be back on track with solid performances in their last two outings.

"We kept it simple," said Predators coach Barry Trotz of Thursday's win. "We established shots. We established lanes. We moved the puck quickly."

Kimmo Timonen has collected four points in his last two games for Nashville, and Martin Erat has scored four goals in four games.

The Predators are 6-0-1 when giving up the first goal of the game, which they did to the Stars, and have been outshot by opponents in 13 of 15 contests. Overall, Nashville has been outshot 488-394 this season.

The Blues' last meeting with the Predators was the start of their 10-game losing streak. St. Louis' string of bad luck continued Thursday, when forward Mark Rycroft scored into his own net as the Blues lost 4-2 to the Chicago Blackhawks.

"You could say when it goes it goes," said Rycroft, who also scored a goal for his own team. "This definitely isn't something we needed in the midst of this losing streak.

"It's not feeling too good right now, I'll tell you that."

The Blues' 2-11-3 start is their worst since 1977-78, when they began 2-10-2.

St. Louis may be trying to revitalize its struggling goaltenders by recalling Curtis Sanford from the minors. Sanford started seven games for the Blues during the 2002-03 season, going 5-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 11): Blues - 7 points, 5th place, 24 PB, Central Division. Predators - 23 points, 2nd place, 8 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blues - Jamal Mayers, 6 goals and 37 PIM; Petr Cajanek, 14 assists and 16 points. Predators - Sullivan, 8 goals and 16 points; Paul Kariya and Timonen, 9 assists; Jeremy Stevenson, 48 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 11): Blues - Power play: 15.0 percent (17 for 113), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.1 percent (85 for 106), 22nd. Predators - Power play: 17.0 percent (16 for 94), 19th. Penalty killing: 84.6 percent (88 for 104), 8th.

GOALTENDERS: Blues - Patrick Lalime (2-9-3, 4.00 GAA); Reinhard Divis (0-2-0, 4.92). Predators - Tomas Vokoun (9-2-2, 2.58); Chris Mason (1-0-1, 3.31).

SEASON SERIES: Predators, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 20; Predators 3-2, SO. At Nashville, Tenn., Vokoun made 29 saves and didn't allow a goal in the shootout for the Predators.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blues - 0-4-2 on the road; Predators - 7-1-0 at home.

Associated Press

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