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At the Rink: Blues at Predators

Nashville won four straight games prior to All-Star break

by Robby Stanley @RStanley247 / NHL.com Correspondent

BLUES (28-16-8) at PREDATORS (24-18-8) 

TV: SN1, FS-MW, FS-TN, NHL.TV

NASHVILLE - The Nashville Predators will try to pick up where they left off before the All-Star break against the St. Louis Blues at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday.

The Predators went 4-0-0 on a four-game road trip before the break and are 5-1-0 in their past six. They have gone winless against the Blues in three games this season. 

"Playing St. Louis, there's no time to ease into it," defenseman Roman Josi said. "They play hard, they're a great team so we've got to be ready right from the beginning. I think everyone in this room knows that the break is over, and it's a huge game." 

Nashville is currently in the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference and will try to have a better close to the regular season than last season, where it sputtered down the stretch after being in first place in the NHL.

"Obviously last year we were kind of in a different situation," Josi said. "I think we were first in the League after the All-Star break, and now we're in the middle of the playoff push. We need to play well. It can be a good thing, too, to be in that playoff mode already right now because every game matters." 

The Blues are looking for a quick start to get their legs back under them after the All-Star break. They believe playing a smart game, especially in the first period, will be key.

"You've got to be ready from the start and keep your shifts short," forward Paul Stastny said. "Everyone has been off for a while so you don't want to feel it out. You want to get out there right away and maybe minimize the errors early on, especially on the road when you're playing a tough opponent like this. Not weather the storm, but just kind of play an even game early on and slowly get your legs back under you, your hands to think and process." 

Here are the projected lineups:

BLUES 

Patrik Berglund - Alexander Steen - David Backes

Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Troy Brouwer

Magnus Paajarvi - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko  

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Dmitrij Jaskin  

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson - Kevin Shattenkirk  

Carl Gunnarsson - Robert Bortuzzo

Brian Elliott

Pheonix Copley

Scratched: Colton Parayko, Ty Rattie, Ryan Reaves

Injured: Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Steve Ott (lower body), Jake Allen (lower body)

PREDATORS 

Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - James Neal  

Calle Jarnkrok - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith

Viktor Arvidsson - Mike Fisher - Austin Watson  

Miikka Salomaki - Paul Gaustad - Cody Bass

Roman Josi - Shea Weber  

Barret Jackman - Ryan Ellis  

Mattias Ekholm - Petter Granberg

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton  

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto

Injured: Colin Wilson (lower body), Gabriel Bourque (upper body), Eric Nystrom (broken foot)

Status report: Gunnarsson, Bortuzzo and Parayko rotated together on the last defense pairing for the Blues at the morning skate. … Elliott is expected to start for the Blues. … Rinne was the first goaltender off of the ice for the Predators at the morning skate and is expected to start. 

Who's hot: Elliott has a save percentage of .939 or better in four of his past five games. … Ekholm has six points in his past five games.

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