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game preview

Predators at Blues preview

Nashville looking for third straight win against St. Louis, which has lost eight of 10

by Louie Korac / Independent Correspondent

PREDATORS (27-22-7) at BLUES (32-15-10)

3 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-TN, NHL.TV


The Game

The Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues will play the first game of a home-and-home at Enterprise Center on Saturday.

It will be the Blues' second game without defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who is out indefinitely after a cardiac episode on the bench in the first period of their game against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. Bouwmeester had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) procedure to restore his heart's normal rhythm on Friday.

St. Louis, which has lost three straight (0-1-2) and is 2-5-3 in its past 10 games, leads the Colorado Avalanche by two points for first place in the Central Division. 

Nashville is coming off a 5-0 win against the New York Islanders on Thursday and is three points behind the Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

The Predators are 2-0-0 against the Blues this season, sweeping their previous home-and-home with a 4-2 win in St. Louis on Nov. 23 and a 3-2 shootout victory in Nashville on Nov. 25.


Players to watch

Predators forward Craig Smith has five goals in a three-game streak, including his first NHL hat trick in the win against the Islanders.

Blues forward Zach Sanford scored four goals in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday and has 13 points (eight goals, five assists) in the past nine games.


They said it

"Every time we play them it's a physical game. They're such a good team. Obviously the defending Stanley Cup champions and there's obviously a reason for that. They're just a hard team to play against." -- Predators captain Roman Josi 

"A big weekend coming up. We'll have to regroup and get ready for that." -- Blues forward Zach Sanford


Predators projected lineup

Mikael Granlund -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Filip Forsberg -- Matt Duchene -- Kyle Turris

Rocco Grimaldi -- Nick Bonino -- Craig Smith

Calle Jarnkrok -- Colton Sissons -- Austin Watson

Roman Josi -- Dante Fabbro

Jarred Tinordi -- Mattias Ekholm

Dan Hamhuis -- Yannick Weber

Juuse Saros

Pekka Rinne

Scratched: Matt Irwin, Colin Blackwell

Injured: Ryan Ellis (upper body)


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Alexander Steen

Zach Sanford -- Ryan O'Reilly -- David Perron

Sammy Blais -- Tyler Bozak -- Robert Thomas 

Mackenzie MacEachern -- Ivan Barbashev -- Jordan Kyrou

Carl Gunnarsson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Justin Faulk -- Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Troy Brouwer, Niko Mikkola, Jacob de la Rose

Injured: Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder), Jay Bouwmeester (cardiac episode), Oskar Sundqvist (lower body)


Status report

Ellis, a defenseman, will miss his 18th straight game. He has not played since the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. ... The Blues did not practice Friday. ... The teams will play the second game of the home-and-home at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Sunday (6 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV).


Stat pack

Josi has five assists in a four-game point streak. ... O'Reilly has seven points (one goal, six assists) in the past five games.

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