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Predators look to avenge earlier loss to Blues

by John Kreiser /

BLUES (5-1-2) at PREDATORS (6-4-1)


Last 10: Nashville 6-3-1

Season series: This is the second meeting of the season between the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators, and the first of three in Bridgestone Arena. The Blues beat the Predators 4-2 in St. Louis on Oct. 3 and have won six of the past seven games between the teams.

Big story: The Predators will try to sweep a two-game homestand before playing seven in a row on the road after beating the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in overtime on Thursday, hours after learning they would be without starting goaltender Pekka Rinne for at least four weeks while he deals with an infection in his left hip. The Blues had a week off before hosting the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night, but had to settle for one point in a 3-2 overtime loss.

Team Scope:

Blues: St. Louis was nothing if not well-rested for its game against the Canucks. The Blues had a week off, while Vancouver was playing for the fifth time in seven days in five cities. Yet St. Louis allowed the Canucks to grab a 2-0 lead before tying the game on goals by Alexander Steen and Vladimir Sobotka. The Canucks won on Ryan Kesler's power-play goal in the final seconds of overtime.

"It is a week, but we discussed it before the game. There's no excuse for not coming out harder than we did, but as the game progressed, I thought we got into it more and started taking over," Steen said. "They kind of got us back a little bit in the third, but we kept coming. We had our fair share of chances to win the game. ... We've got nobody to blame but ourselves. Now we regroup and head to Nashville."

Predators: With Rinne sidelined, Nashville will depend on untested youngsters Carter Hutton and Magnus Hellberg in goal. Hutton excelled against Winnipeg, stopping 34 of 36 shots before Craig Smith scored the winning goal with 17 seconds left in overtime.

Hutton has been working extensively with goaltending coach Mitch Korn, and coach Barry Trotz feels the effort is paying off.

"You saw in a number of those saves he had to be very explosive coming across and doing some of those things," Trotz told The Tennessean. "I thought he was pretty square to the puck and from a standpoint, they put a lot of rubber towards him and he handled it just fine."

Who's hot: Steen had an assist and his eighth goal of the season in the loss to Vancouver. He has as many goals in the season's first eight games as he had in 40 games in 2012-13. … Smith leads the Predators with seven points in 11 games; he had 12 in 44 games last season.

Injury report: The Blues report no injuries, though forward Maxim Lapierre is sitting out a five-game suspension. … In addition to Rinne, the Predators are still without defenseman Roman Josi (concussion), though he's skating in non-contact drills.

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