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Game Day: Blues vs. Preds

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(9-3-1) St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators (8-2-2)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #STLvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
Tickets | Hockey Fights Cancer Night


The Nashville Predators are coming off of a 3-2 win on Thursday night in their first Central Division matchup of the season, handing the Minnesota Wild their first home loss in 2015-16. Cody Hodgson tallied the game-winning goal late in the third period, his first marker with Nashville. Saturday’s opponent, the St. Louis Blues rallied from a 5-2, first-period deficit to defeat Chicago 6-5 in overtime on Wednesday night.

“We have to make sure we take care of ourselves and be ready," Hodgson said. "Everyone knows that St. Louis is a good team; they just had a pretty big win over Chicago and they’re obviously a good team, and we need to make sure we’re ready.”

Nashville's 8-2-2 record (18 points), which is tied for their best start in franchise history through 12 games, currently has them third in the division, while St. Louis is second with 19 points. The Predators are one of only two NHL clubs who have not lost a game in regulation at home (4-0-1) and the Preds have played in eight, one-goal games, earning points in seven contests (5-1-2).

Tonight's contest marks the start of a five-game home stand for the Preds, the longest consecutive stay at Bridgestone Arena for the club. Their first contest in Music City in two weeks will be a special one, serving both as a Golden Saturday and one of the team's two Hockey Fights Cancer Nights during the 2015-16 season. Nashville's skaters will sport special lavender uniforms during warm-ups along with giving fans lots of opportunities to donate to the Nashville Predators Foundation's 365 Pediatric Cancer Fund. More info on the evening's features may be seen here.

Preds Captain Shea Weber is one goal away from scoring the 150th of his NHL career and one point away from his 400th. When he scores No. 150, he will be just the third active NHL defenseman with 150 goals and the 38th blueliner in NHL history to accomplish the feat. When he posts his 400th point, he will be the third player in Nashville Predators franchise history to reach the mark.

James Neal (7g-3a) and Roman Josi (3g-7a) are tied for the Nashville points lead with 10 apiece, followed by Filip Forsberg with eight (2g-6a). Weber and Mike Ribeiro have seven points each with 19 different Preds have registered at least one point. Nine different players have multiple goals.

Goaltender Pekka Rinne has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of his 10 appearances this season, sporting a 7-1-2 record, a 1.98 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage.

The Blues will receive some help on the backend tonight as defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was activated from the injured reserve list on Friday. Skilled forward Vladimir Tarasenko leads the Blues with 12 points, including seven goals on the season. Alexander Steen has posted seven goals and 11 points through 13 games; Troy Brouwer and Colton Parayko have nine points each.

Goaltenders Jake Allen and Brian Elliott have seen almost equal time in net for the Blues this season; Allen is 5-3-0 while Elliott is 4-0-1.

The Predators have points in four of their last five games against the Blues, posting a 3-1-1 record, with each of those five contests being a one-goal affair. Last season, Nashville won both contests at home. All-time, the Preds are 45-36-14 against the Blues.

Update: The Preds have recalled defenseman Anthony Bitetto from his conditioning assignment with the Milwaukee Admirals. Details here.


Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Players: Barret Jackman, Ryan Ellis and Mike Ribeiro


What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown


Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette


Projected Lineups:

Forward Eric Nystrom (upper-body) did not participate in the Preds morning skate and is not expected to play tonight. Blueliner Anthony Bitetto, who was recalled from his conditioning assignment on Saturday morning, was also absent from the session.

Nashville Predators:

Forwards
Filip Forsberg Mike Fisher James Neal
Miikka Salomaki Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Colin Wilson Calle Jarnkrok COdy Hodgson
Gabriel Bourque Paul Gaustad Austin Watson
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Barret Jackman Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis

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Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the expected starter in net with Carter Hutton serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Victor Bartley, (D) Anthony Bitetto, (F) Eric Nystrom


St. Louis Blues:

Forwards
Alexander Steen Jori Lehtera Vladimir Tarasenko
Scottie Upshall David Backes Robby Fabbri
Magnus Paajarvi Scott Gomez Troy Brouwer
Dmitrij Jaskin Kyle Brodziak R. Reaves/M. Havlat
Defense
Joel Edmundson Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson K. Shattenkirk/R. Bortuzzo

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Goaltenders: Jake Allen is expected starter in net with Brian Elliott serving as the backup.

Injured: (F) Steve Ott, (F) Jaden Schwartz, (F) Paul Stastny, (F) Patrik Berglund

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