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Game Day: Blues vs. Preds

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(16-7-2) St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators (16-6-2)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game
Tickets

For already the third time in the current campaign, the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues are getting together. It'll be the first meeting between the two Central Division foes in Music City this season, with the Preds and Blues each collecting a victory over the first two meetings in St. Louis. The two clubs are currently tied atop their division with 34 points apiece.

Nashville saw its four-game win streak come to an end on Tuesday night, falling 2-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes. It was the sixth-straight outing for the Preds that has ended in a one-goal decision.

Named Rookie of the Month for November by the NHL, the Preds Filip Forsberg continues to impress. The Swede leads the Predators and all League rookies in points with 23. His goal total of 10 is tied for the top spot among rookies and his assist total is good for second in the category. Forsberg tallied nine goals and 15 points during the month of November, while Nashville went 10-3-0 during that stretch.

Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was also recognized by the League, earning Third Star of the Month honors. Rinne's 16 wins this season ties him for the top spot in the NHL. The Finn is one of seven NHL goaltenders to have played five or more overtime games and not allowed a goal.

Defenseman Shea Weber leads Preds blueliners in points (6g-8a-15pts), and his point total trails only Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro for the team lead. The captain leads Nashville in time on ice (26:49) and hits (58).

Across the way, Vladimir Tarasenko leads the Blues in goals (14) and points (26), but the focus on Thursday in Nashville will likely be in the St. Louis crease. The NHL's all-time leader in wins (688) and shutouts (124), Martin Brodeur signed with the Blues earlier this week and is expected to start against the Preds. It will be the first time ever that Brodeur has dressed for an NHL club other than New Jersey.

"I feel good," Brodeur said Thursday morning. "It's important for me to go out there and feel a game situation and how I'm going to go through this thing. My expectations are always the same. There's a lot of things you can't control in hockey. The only thing you can control is how you prepare yourself and the effort you're putting out there. That's the way I've been playing all my career and it won't change because of the situation."

The Preds are looking to continue winning at home, as they did all through the month of November. Nashville took all six of their games at Bridgestone Arena during the month, pushing their home record to 10-1-1 on the season. That record includes nine one-goal decisions, featuring one in overtime and three shootout victories.

In 92 games between the two clubs all-time, the Preds maintain the lead with a 43-36-(4)-9 record.

Predators Game Day Video:


What to Watch for: Brent and Willy's Breakdown


Filip Forsberg, Pekka Rinne, Anton Volchenkov:


Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette



Morning Skate:

Neither team held an official morning skate, so lines are only projected. Pekka Rinne & Martin Brodeur are expected to start in goal.

Projected Nashville Lines:

Forwards:


Forsberg - Ribeiro - Neal

Wilson - Jarnkrok - Smith

Nystrom - Fisher - Beck

Bourque - Jokinen - Cullen

Defensemen:

Josi - Weber

Ekholm - Ellis

Volchenkov - Jones

Goaltenders:

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton


Projected St. Louis Lines:

Forwards:


Steen - Lehtera - Tarasenko

Schwartz - Stastney - Oshie

Ott - Berglund - Backes

Porter - Lapierre - Reaves

Defensemen:

Jackman - Pietrangelo

Gunnarsson - Shattenkirk

Butler - Cole

Goaltenders:

Martin Brodeur

Jake Allen
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