The Nashville Predators are not expected to have newly acquired Peter Forsberg in the lineup Friday night when they visit the St. Louis Blues. They haven't had him for the previous 14 meetings either, and those have turned out pretty well.
Nashville looks to regain possession of the league's overall points lead with its 15th straight win over the Blues when the Central Division rivals meet at Scottrade Center.
The Predators (39-16-3) won the Forsberg sweepstakes Thursday night, acquiring the star center and former MVP from Philadelphia for right wing Scottie Upshall, defenseman Ryan Parent and two draft picks.
"This is a huge deal for our franchise," general manager David Poile said. "It's certainly, I think, a clear message also to our community that we are aiming to be the best that we can be, and we certainly hope this translates to ... more fan support in our community."
Nashville was on its way to a third straight playoff berth without Forsberg, but his addition could help the team advance past the first round for the first time in franchise history and make it a leading contender for the Stanley Cup.
"We're a club that has some really good players, but we've only got one player that has won a Stanley Cup, and that's Jason Arnott," Poile said. "This is a huge addition. Peter Forsberg is a Stanley Cup champion."
Forsberg is slated to make his Predators debut Saturday night at home against Minnesota.
Nashville, one point behind Buffalo for the NHL lead, has outscored St. Louis 47-24 in winning all 14 meetings since the start of the 2005-06 season. Seven of the victories - all in regulation - have come in St. Louis.
The Blues haven't beaten the Predators since a 4-1 win in Nashville on April 3, 2004.
"We've had some success against the Blues," Predators forward Steve Sullivan said after a 6-3 win at St. Louis on Jan. 27 in the most recent matchup.
"I don't think it's the Blues. It's our style of play."
All five previous meetings this season were decided by one goal - two ended in shootouts and another went to overtime. The teams meet for the eighth and final time on April 5.
Paul Kariya is a big reason why Nashville has dominated this series since he joined the team at the start of last season. He has six goals and 11 assists during the 14-game win streak, and 53 points in 46 career games versus the Blues.
Kariya has eight points in this season's series while Sullivan has seven and Martin Erat has six.
Erat had a goal and an assist Wednesday and Shea Weber scored twice as the Predators beat San Jose 5-0 after losing four of their previous six games.
Tomas Vokoun stopped 22 shots for his second shutout in four games and fourth of the season. He has won three of his last four starts, posting a 1.50 goals-against average during that span.
"We played from the first minute to the last minute, how we are supposed to play," Vokoun said.
Vokoun and backup Chris Mason have combined to give Nashville 10 shutouts this season, tying New Jersey for most in the NHL.
Vokoun has won his last five starts versus the Blues with a 1.20 goals-against average while Mason is 10-0 with two shutouts and a 1.92 GAA in 12 career games against them.
Rookie David Backes had his first career two-goal game Wednesday, leading St. Louis (23-26-9) to a 4-2 victory at Columbus.
"The way my linemates were playing, setting me up, it was easy for me," said Backes, who has three goals in his last three games after a 20-game drought.
Bill Guerin has five goals and two assists during a four-game point streak. He leads the Blues with 26 goals and 45 points.