Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues
Bridgestone Arena, 7 pm
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee (HD) | Radio: 104.5 The Zone, Predators Radio Network
The Predators find themselves on the cusp of a playoff berth, but thanks to the pesky Calgary Flames won't be able to clinch it tonight. Honestly, it makes no difference to the team.
Echoing around the locker room prior to this morning's game was the sentiment that to a man - head coach to trainer and anyone in between - the team isn't in yet, and until they are they refuse to feel any sort of comfort in numbers that seem to tell an inevitable tale. Yes, one win and three points locks out the Flames. Yes, it would seem a tall order for Calgary to knock out the Predators (though not some of the other teams that are just below, especially Colorado). And yes, this team has finally gotten through its toughest stretch of the year, playing 17 games in March's 31 days.
However, tonight the Predators face a Blues team that has tried to salvage its season and is currently on a hot streak. St. Louis comes in with three in a row under its belt and looking to make it four. They're not out of the playoffs either, and you never know which team in front of you could falter. So St. Louis is looking to finish strong and keep the ball rolling here tonight.
Don't forget that the Predators had to rally and win in the final minutes of the third period against the Blues last time the two teams met. It wasn't looking all that rosy for the good guys until late in the game when Dustin Boyd stepped up with his second of the night to earn the win. So don't expect either team to take its opponent lightly tonight.
It should be a very intense game here tonight, one that hockey fans can appreciate no matter which side you're rooting for.Notes:
Keys to the Game
- Jason Arnott did skate today on his own, but said he's still day-to-day and there's no concrete timetable for his return.
- Alex Steen had two goals and an assist in the Blues' 4-2 win over Chicago, moving him into first on the team with 23 goals.
- Paul Kariya (lower body) is day-to-day after leaving the Chicago game in the first period.
- Nashville has to bring its compete level for 60 minutes. It's no secret Nashville has been up and down for periods here and there. It's time to cobble that all together heading into the playoffs.
- Better traffic/net presence. We harp on this a lot. Well, if Jonathan Bernier had seen fewer pucks, maybe it's a different game. Any NHL goalie will stop what he sees 98% of the time. Cut down his vision to 50/50 and see how it goes.