By Amanda DiPaolo
Nashville Predators 17-11-6
St. Louis Blues 17-12-5
Only one point separates the Blues from Nashville in the Western Conference. The Predators are barely hanging on the 8th spot in the West. If they lost Sunday night, the Blues will leap frog over them and Nashville will be on the outside looking in of the playoff race for the first time in a couple of weeks.
The status of Martin Erat is the most pressing concern for Nashville right now. Just when Patric Hornqvist returns to the lineup, Erat leaves it. On Thursday, Erat has a shorthanded breakaway but ended up falling into the boards and leaving the game. His loss would be huge for Nashville with David Legwand and Matthew Lombardi out of the lineup.
When will Legwand return? Last week, coach Trotz said the center would miss the next two games which were Wednesday and Thursday. There is no word on his status for tonight’s game.
According to TSN.ca, Steve Sullivan also has a lower body injury and is questionable for Sunday night’s match in St. Louis.
The Blues also have been battling the injury bug this season. Stars David Perron and T.J. Oshie remain out indefinitely and Andy MacDonald, who scored in the first minute of the game against the Predators the last time they met, is on injured reserve and is also out indefinitely with a concussion. Former Predator Dave Scatchard is expected to miss a month of action with a lower body injury.
Just before the two-day Christmas break, Pekka Rinne returned to action after missing nine games with a lower-body injury. Against Ottawa, Rinne stopped 28-of-30 shots in the 2-1 loss. Since the November 18th 3-0 blanking of the Canadiens, Rinne has posted a 1.51 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage.
This is the fifth meeting between these two clubs so far this season. The next time they meet will be the final game of the season for botrh the Predators and Blues. Both teams have two wins against each other in the four games they have played. Nashville has five consecutive wins in St. Louis dating back to February 21, 2010. Expect a tight contest Sunday night since four of the five victories were decided by one goal, including two shootouts and another decided in overtime.
After Sunday night’s game, the Predators return to Bridgestone Arena to face the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, December 28th. Tickets are still available.
Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount.