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Game Day: Blues vs. Preds

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(35-19-9) St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators (30-21-11)
  2 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #STLvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 1:30 P.M.
Tickets | Golden Saturday | 24 Hours of Hockey


The Nashville Predators return home this afternoon to host the St. Louis Blues for a special 2 p.m. (CT) puck drop at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators and Blues alumni will face off following the game for double dose of the Central Division rivals.

It's the fifth and final meeting between the two clubs this season; Nashville has yet to defeat the Blues in 2015-16, going 0-3-1 thus far, including two St. Louis shutouts.

Nashville is coming off a perfect 3-0-0 road trip, including a 3-1 victory on Thursday night in Chicago, with Pekka Rinne tying his season high with 38 saves in the winning effort. The Predators have points in eight-straight games and are 6-1-3 in their last 10 outings. The Blues fell 2-1 to the New York Rangers on Thursday in their most recent contest.

The Preds have not lost in regulation since Feb. 9, 2016 (5-0-3 record). The club has allowed two goals or fewer on six occasions during the stretch, shutting out the opposition twice. During the eight-game streak, Nashville is 4-for-19 on the power play (21.1 percent) and has killed off 19 opponent power plays, 19-of-21 (90.5 percent). The longest point streak in franchise history is 10 games, which has happened on four previous occasions (most recently from Nov. 27-Dec.17, 2010 (8-0-2 record).

Nashville has posted at least 30 shots in a game on 32 occasions in 2015-16, including seven contests where the team had 40-plus shots. The team has also allowed 25 shots or fewer in 25 games, with the season low being 15 shots on Dec. 1 versus Arizona. Nashville ranks near the top in fewest shots allowed per game. The Preds are also third in the NHL in shot differential with a plus-3.48.

Filip Forsberg continues to lead the Predators – and is tied for third among all NHLers – with nine goals during the month of February. His 12 points also lead the team in the month.

Defenseman Roman Josi maintains the team lead in points with 44, including 11 goals. Forsberg's 42 points slot him second, followed by Mike Ribeiro with 39 points and James Neal with 37 points. Forsberg's 23 goals lead the team overall, followed by Neal with 21 and Preds Captain Shea Weber, who has 15. Weber has missed the last two games and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is 3-0-1 in his last four starts and is 23-18-9 overall.

Forsberg has nine career points versus the Blues, his most against any team (4g-5a).
Mike Fisher has four points in his last four games versus the Blues (2g-2a) and Ryan Johansen has a point in four of his last five games against St. Louis (2g-4a).

Vladimir Tarasenko leads the Blues offensively with 29 goals and 54 points. Alexander Steen is second on the club with 47 points, but is currently on Injured Reserve. Captain David Backes has 15 goals and 33 points on the season. Goaltender Brian Elliott is also on Injured Reserve, with the Preds likely set to face Jake Allen in net, who is 18-12-3 this season.

Mattias Ekholm, Josi, Johansen and Weber are all tied for the team lead in points versus St. Louis this season with two (1g-1a for each). All-time, Nashville leads the series 45-39-15, including a 24-17-9 advantage at Bridgestone Arena.

The rosters for the Blues and Predators Alumni game can be see here.


Projected Lineups:

Nashville Predators:

The Predators will not hold a morning skate prior to their matinee matchup with St. Louis. Below is a projected lineup based on the team's lineup used in Thursday's 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.


Forwards
Calle Jarnkrok Ryan Johansen James Neal
Filip Forsberg Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Colin Wilson Mike Fisher Viktor Arvidsson
Miikka Salomaki Paul Gaustad Austin Watson
Defense
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis
Barret Jackman Anthony Bitetto

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Goaltenders: The Predators have not announced a starting goaltender for today's game. Pekka Rinne made 38 saves in Nashville's 3-1 win over Chicago on Thursday.

Extra: (D) Petter Granberg, (F) Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), (F) Eric Nystrom (IR; lower-body)


St. Louis Blues:

Blues forward Jori Lehtera left Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Rangers with an upper-body injury after taking a puck to the face. According to the Blues website, it is possible Lehtera will suit up for Saturday's game versus the Preds. It is also possible that defenseman Alex Pietrangelo could return to the ice for the Blues this weekend.


Forwards
Jaden Schwartz Jori Lehtera* Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri Paul Stastny Troy Brouwer
Patrik Berglund David Backes Magnus Paajarvi
Scottie Upshall Kyle Brodziak Dmitrij Jaskin
Defense
Jay Bouwmeester Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson Colton Parayko
Joel Edmundson Robert Bortuzzo

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Goaltenders: Jake Allen is the projected starter in net with Pheonix Copley serving as the backup.

Extra: (F) Steve Ott, (D) Alex Pietrangelo, (F) Ty Rattie, (G) Brian Elliott, (F) Alexander Steen

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