BLUES (9-3-1) at PREDATORS (8-2-2)
TV: FS-MW, FS-TN
NASHVILLE -- Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk will return to the lineup for the St. Louis Blues when they play against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.
Shattenkirk missed 10 games with a lower-body injury and is excited to return for his first game since Oct. 13, a 4-3 Blues win against the Calgary Flames.
"It's a good feeling," Shattenkirk said. "I think it's a little anxiousness, and more than anything it's just nice to kind of be back in the routine of a game day and not have to worry about whether you're going to be feeling good on the ice or whether the injury is going to creep back up again. I'm pretty confident in what I've been doing for the last few weeks that helped me strengthen everything and be ready to play a game tonight."
St. Louis and Nashville typically play close, hard-fought games that are a good illustration of the style of hockey played in the Central Division. Shattenkirk expects another tight game against Nashville on Saturday.
"I think especially with our division, that's kind of the nature of the beast," Shattenkirk said. "They're a great team. They have a great goaltender who seems to always step up against us when we play them. I think if you look at both teams, we're both built pretty much the same. We have a lot of offensive talent and skill, but we pride ourselves on keeping that puck out of the net."
Nashville defenseman Barret Jackman spent the first 13 seasons of his career with St. Louis and will face his former team Saturday for the first time since signing with the Predators.
"It's different," Jackman said. "It's going to be a little bit strange probably leading up to it. It's going to be different in warmups seeing the blue note on the other side of the red line. I think once the game gets started and I get that first shift under my belt, it'll be business as usual."
Here are the projected lineups:
Alex Steen – Jori Lehtera – Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri – David Backes – Scottie Upshall
Magnus Paajarvi – Scott Gomez – Troy Brouwer
Dmitrij Jaskin – Kyle Brodziak – Ryan Reaves
Joel Edmundson – Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester – Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson – Kevin Shattenkirk
Injured: Patrik Berglund (shoulder), Paul Stastny (foot), Jaden Schwartz (ankle) Steve Ott (upper body)
Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Martin Havlat
Filip Forsberg – Mike Fisher – James Neal
Miikka Salomaki – Mike Ribeiro – Craig Smith
Colin Wilson – Calle Jarnkrok – Cody Hodgson
Gabriel Bourque – Paul Gaustad – Austin Watson
Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm – Ryan Ellis
Barret Jackman – Seth Jones
Injured: Eric Nystrom (upper body)
Scratched: Victor Bartley, Anthony Bitetto
Status report: St. Louis signed Havlat to a one-year contract Friday. … Allen was the first goaltender off the ice at the morning skate for the Blues and is expected to start. … Rinne was the first goaltender off the ice for the Predators and is expected to start.
Who's hot: Tarasenko has two goals and one assist in his past three games and leads the Blues with 12 points. … Josi has five points in his past four games and is tied for the Predators lead with 10 points.