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Game Day: Preds vs. Blues

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(10-3-2) Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues (10-4-1)
  7 P.M. | Scottrade Center
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game

For the second time in less than a week, the Nashville Predators will visit the St. Louis Blues away from home, with the second of five meetings between the two clubs coming tonight. The Preds have won three games in a row, including a 2-1 win against the Blues last Saturday night.

With a 3-2 win over Edmonton on Tuesday evening, the Preds improved their record to 10-3-2 on the season, good for tops in the Central Division and third in the Western Conference. Right behind them are the Blue Notes. St. Louis has won eight of their last nine contests, with their only falter coming against Nashville.

The Predators are off to their second best start in franchise history, as the club's 22 points through 15 games stands second to only the 2005-06 team that earned 23 points in its first 15 matchups. Nashville's 10 wins in 15 games ties this year's squad with the 2005-06 and 2006-07 groups for the franchise record for fewest games needed to record 10 wins.

One of the predominant reasons for the Preds continued success lies on the stick of a Swedish rookie. Filip Forsberg extended his goal streak to five games and point streak to six games, thanks to a goal and assist against the Oilers on Tuesday. With his goal, Forsberg set the franchise record for consecutive games with a tally by a Nashville rookie and became the first rookie to post a five-game goal streak since Sean Couturier did so for the Philadelphia Flyers from Jan. 8-17, 2012.

Forsberg currently leads the Preds and all NHL rookies in points with 17 (7g-10a) and is playing at better than a point-per-game pace. His current six-game point streak is tied for third-longest active streak among all NHL players and his five-game goal streak is tied with Dallas Captain Jamie Benn for longest NHL goal streak of the season. Forsberg leads all rookie forwards in average ice time (16:46) and is tops in the NHL in plus/minus (+17).

On the contrary, Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is on a torrid pace of his own. The 22-year-old Russian has recorded 19 points (9g-10a) in just 15 games this year, with his line mates, Jaden Schwartz and Jori Lehtera, right behind him for the team lead, with 15 and 14 points, respectively. The Blues are outscoring their opponents by a 41-29 margin on the season thus far.

The Preds maintain a lead all-time when the two franchises get together, boasting a 43-35-(4)-9 record. Nashville's win in St. Louis on Saturday snapped a six-game losing streak at Scottrade Center, which dated back to February of 2013. Just as it was five days earlier, tonight's contest will be a battle for first place in the Central Division.
Morning Skate:

The Predators did not hold a morning skate in St. Louis prior to this evening's contest. Probable line combinations for tonight can be found in yesterday's Preds Practice Ponderings.

Per the St. Louis Blues, the team's star forward T.J. Oshie will be back in the lineup tonight after missing the last seven games with a concussion. Oshie, the club's second-leading scorer in 2013-14 with 60 points, will also be joined by forward Ryan Reaves who will play for St. Louis after sitting out one game (ankle injury). Goaltender Jake Allen has also been announced as the starter in goal tonight for the Blues.
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