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Predators seek to continue mastery of Blues

by Mike G. Morreale
BLUES (4-1-2) at PREDATORS (5-0-3)
Season series --
The clubs are meeting for the second time in 15 days in Nashville. Steve Sullivan scored two goals in leading the Predators to a 4-3 victory on Oct. 14 -- ending the Blues' season-opening two-game winning streak. Dating to last season, the Predators have beaten the Blues five consecutive times, with all five games decided by one goal. The Predators dominated the series between the clubs last season, winning five of six meetings.
Big story --
Nashville is the only NHL team without a regulation loss and owns a 4-0 mark in the first two back-to-backs this season. As strong as rookie goalie Anders Lindback (3-0-1, 2.55 GAA, .925 save percentage) has been for the Preds, starter Pekka Rinne (2-0-3) leads the Western Conference in goals-against average (1.58) and save percentage (.955).

"We have been playing well," right wing Joel Ward said. "We have been playing some teams in the East, which we don't see too often. We want to take as many points as possible regardless of who we play. We are expected to win hockey games."
Team Scope:

Blues -- St. Louis is coming off victories over the previous two Stanley Cup champions, in Chicago on Friday, 4-2, and Pittsburgh on Saturday, 1-0 in overtime. Defenseman Erik Johnson scored his first goal of the season 50 seconds into OT and Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 shots to record his first shutout of the season to help the Blues defeat Pittsburgh.
Predators --
Nashville came away with its fifth win of the season on Sunday despite yielding two goals by the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 57-second span over the final five minutes of the contest.  Lindback made 42 saves while defenseman Shea Weber and left wing Sergei Kostitsyn each notched his first goal of the season.
Who's hot -- Halak turned aside 31 shots in a 1-0 triumph over Pittsburgh last Saturday. The last time he faced the Penguins, it was as a member of the Montreal Canadiens, who upset Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season. Halak, traded to the Blues by Montreal in exchange for center Lars Eller and right wing Ian Schultz, signed a four-year deal with the Blues last July. He sports a 1.81 GAA and .929 save percentage.
Injury report --
For Nashville, defenseman Ryan Suter (lower body) was injured Oct. 19, but is probable against St. Louis. Forwards Marcel Goc (shoulder) is on injured reserve and Matthew Lombardi (concussion) is listed as day-to-day. … St. Louis defenseman Roman Polak (lacerated right wrist) left Saturday's game against Pittsburgh in the second period and is out against Nashville. Forward Cam Janssen (concussion, sternum contusion) is questionable.
Stat pack --
Nashville's 13 points through eight games is the second-highest total in franchise history, behind the perfect 8-0-0 start (16 points) courtesy of the 2005-06 squad.
Puck drop -- "We're not a team that's going to be all hyped up because we beat two of the better teams in the League (Chicago and Pittsburgh)," Blues defenseman Barret Jackman said. "We have to take the approach that every team we play, that we're just as good or better. If the opposition wants to think of us as the underdogs, that's good for us. We'll go through the whole year of being the underdog and improving ourselves."

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