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Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues

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GAME: Nashville Predators (33-26-8-2) at St. Louis Blues (32-26-9-2).

TIME: Thursday, 8 p.m. EST.

The St. Louis Blues look to resume their playoff push as they host the Nashville Predators.

The Blues have won three straight to pull into a tie with Los Angeles for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. St. Louis trails Nashville by a point for the seventh spot.

Pavol Demitra scored his 21st goal 1:01 into overtime to give the Blues a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

"We wanted to get to overtime and win the game," said Blues coach Mike Kitchen. "We needed that (extra point)."

The victory extended the Blues' unbeaten streak to four games. St. Louis has six points in its last three games against Eastern Conference opponents and 24 points overall against the East, which is more than any other team in the West.

The Blues have mastered the art of picking up the extra point in overtime, leading the league with 10 overtime wins. St. Louis is 10-9-2 overall in overtime.

"We try to go out and win the game (in overtime)," Kitchen said. "We don't play for the tie. You already have one point, so why not try for two? Those extra 10 points we have are extremely valuable."

Keith Tkachuk and Alexander Khavanov scored power-play goals for St. Louis and Chris Osgood made 22 saves.

The Blues and Predators have played four times this season with each coming away with two wins.

Nashville added several players over the last week to make a run at the playoffs. The Predators added scoring in forward Steve Sullivan, a second-line center in Sergei Zholtok and two quality defensemen - Brad Bombardir and Steve Hnidy before the trading deadline.

The Predators, who have never made the playoffs, have lost three of their last four games.

Sullivan scored a power-play goal in the third period, but Bruins center Joe Thornton countered with 1:52 remaining to lift Boston to a 3-2 win over Nashville.

STANDINGS (through March 9): Predators - 76 points, 2nd place, 14 PB, Central Division. Blues - 75 points, 3rd place, 15 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Sullivan, 23 goals, 39 assists and 62 points; Jordin Tootoo, 127 PIM. Blues - Keith Tkachuk, 28 goals and 62 points; Doug Weight, 44 assists; Mike Danton, 141 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 9): Predators - Power play: 17.7 percent (61 for 260), 8th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (257 for 313), 24th. Blues - Power play: 17.4 percent (52 for 299), 9th. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (282 for 334), 13th (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Tomas Vokoun (30-24-7, 3 SO, 2.56 GAA); Chris Mason (3-4-1, 1, 2.28). Blues - Chris Osgood (24-22-7, 2, 2.29); Reinhard Divis (4-3-1, 0, 3.09).

SEASON SERIES: Even, 2-2.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 10; Predators, 3-1. At Nashville, Tootoo had a fight, a goal and an assist to lead the Predators during his first career multipoint game.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 12-18-2-1 on the road; Blues - 19-9-6-0 at home.


Associated Press
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