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Predators glad to be home vs. Blues

by John Kreiser

BLUES (11-5-3) at PREDATORS (9-7-3)


Last 10 -- St. Louis 5-4-1; Nashville 4-6-0

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the fourth of six times this season, with the Blues making their third and final trip to Bridgestone Arena. The teams split the first two games in Nashville, and the Predators won 3-2 in a shootout at St. Louis on Nov. 11

Big story -- After playing nine of their last 10 games on the road, the Predators are happy to be back home -- they've played a League-low seven games at home. The Blues have won their last two games, including a 3-2 victory at home against New Jersey on Saturday, but are just 3-5-2 away from Scottrade Center. Nashville is 29-7-3 against the Blues since 2005-06, including 15-2-3 at home.

Team Scope:

Blues -- The Blues have had three days off since winning back-to-back home games against Ottawa (5-2) and New Jersey (3-2) on Friday and Saturday. But coach Davis Payne isn't satisfied that they've returned to the form that made them one of the NHL's hottest teams for the first few weeks of the season.

"It was just a matter of finding a way," Payne said after the victory against the Devils. "We really didn't have the jump that was necessary. We made some mental errors, we made some positional errors. There was lots of try, there was lots of intent, which is something we talked about at great length, but Jersey came in and had a lot of possession, had a lot of skills players that we had to expend energy defending."

Predators -- The Predators have been getting solid play from goaltender Pekka Rinne, who stopped 28 shots in a 2-0 loss at Columbus on Monday. But the offense continues to struggle -- Nashville has scored just five time in its last three games.

"I was a little disappointed that in terms of that we didn't come out with a little more pop," coach Barry Trotz said of Monday night's performance. "We had too many guys who were passengers."

Who's hot -- Blues forwards Andy McDonald, David Backes and Brad Boyes have 21 points in St. Louis' last five games. … Rinne has stopped 79 of 82 shots in his last three games.

Injury report -- The Blues may get defenseman Barret Jackman back -- he skated without limitations at Tuesday's practice. Jackman hasn't played since going down with a sprained right knee on Nov. 4. … Nashville hopes to have both defenseman Ryan Suter and center David Legwand return from lower-body injuries. Matthew Lombardi (concussion) is on IR.

Stat pack -- Of the Blues' 20 trips to Nashville since 2005, nine gave gone to overtime or a shootout. In all, Nashville has gone to extra time with St. Louis on 19 occasions.. The Predators are 10-5-4 in those games, with all 10 wins coming since the start of 2005-06. … Nashville is 21-3-5 in its last 29 one-goal games.

Puck drop -- The Predators reach to 20-game mark with this one, and four of the 20 will have come against the Blues, who come to Music City for the final time this season. The teams meet again in St. Louis on Dec. 16, and then not again until April 9, the final Saturday of the season.

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