The St. Louis Blues are one of the hottest teams in the NHL today. A tough battle awaits the Nashville Predators who are on a streak of their own.
The Nashville Predators are equally as hot as the Blues, with eight wins in their last nine games. They’ve had a busy week as this will be their fourth game in eight days, although none have been back to back. This will be the Predators first away game since their collapse in Minnesota. So expect the Predators to come out firing on all cylinders, and if they don’t, this game could get ugly, fast.
The Blues are the best team in the west with 33 points in 22 games. They currently sit four points ahead of the second place team and five points ahead of the Nashville Predators. They currently boast a +20 goal differential and they ride into tonight on a three-game win streak.
Most of those points have come from a single line and possible Norris stealer Alex Pietrangelo. Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn, and Vladimir Tarasenko are possibly the second hottest line in the NHL behind the Stamkos/Kucherov line. The line currently has 86 points in 66 games, the weirdest part is that Tarasenko isn’t leading the group. Both Schwartz and Schenn have 30 points so far while Tarasenko has 26. So it’s not a huge disparity.
Pietrangelo has been hotter than any defenseman to start the season but has cooled off in the past two games. The elite two-way defender has 20 points in 22 games and is equally as dangerous on either side of the puck. He does a heck of a job protecting Jake Allen in net, although Carter Hutton will get the call tonight. Hutton is a decent back-up who has performed admirably this year. He holds four wins in five games and a 94.3% save percentage. Although his last game was two weeks ago so there may be some cobwebs.
The Predators roster
No goalie has been officially named as a starter, but my guess is that Pekka Rinne will backstop the team.
Keys to the game
- Quality, not quantity
The Nashville Predators had this issue against the Canadiens, where they got shots but failed to generate high danger chances. While peppering Carter Hutton with tons of shots is a reasonable strategy, my advice would be not to let him find his game. Pick and choose your battles to keep him cold. Keep him second-guessing.
2. Don’t take penalties
This is true for every game, but especially tonight. Brayden Schenn is a great powerplay performer with eight points so far, and then there’s Tarasenko. Tarasenko does this thing experts have dubbed, “the disappearing puck trick”. It’s where Tarasenko possesses the puck on the right side just below the top of the circle. From there, he takes a step in and looks across to pass, then, suddenly, the puck ends up in the back of the net. It’s a shot no goalie in the history of the NHL could stop, so the best strategy is to not give him the opportunity.
Watch the game!
Catch the action on Fox Sports TN as the puck drops at 7pm! If you’d rather listen, the match will be on 102.5 The Game radio station with the pre-game starting at 6:30.