PREDATORS (27-22-7) at BLUES (32-15-10)
3 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-TN, NHL.TV
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
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
Scratched: Troy Brouwer, Niko Mikkola, Jacob de la Rose
Injured: Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder), Jay Bouwmeester (cardiac episode), Oskar Sundqvist (lower body)
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).
Josi has five assists in a four-game point streak. ... O'Reilly has seven points (one goal, six assists) in the past five games.