The second half of a home & home sandwiched around Thanksgiving could produce interesting results. The Nashville Predators are hoping for more of the same from the first half.
Hopefully, the Nashville Predators took advantage of Thursday’s off day and had themselves a splendid Thanksgiving. They return to the ice tonight against the same team they beat 4-1 on Wednesday night. The scenery does change, however, as the St. Louis Blues will hope that Interim Head Coach Craig Berube gets his first win in his first home game.
Can we have a repeat?
Nashville Predators fans wouldn’t mind a simple re-run of Wednesday night’s game. Pekka Rinne turned aside twenty-eight of twenty-nine shots to become the winningest Finnish goalie in the history of the NHL. The Predators got contributions from three first-time goal scorers of the season along with a breakaway short-handed goal from Filip Forsberg. It was a good night in Nashville.
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There haven’t been very many good nights for the Blues early this season. While Nashville sits on top of the Central Division, St. Louis finds itself in the cellar, four points behind the sixth-place Chicago Blackhawks. As good as the Central Division looks to be this year, the Blues can’t fall too far behind too early. Canning Mike Yeo nineteen games into the season seemed harsh to most outside observers, but St. Louis management knew they needed to turn things around fast.
Why do the Blues have the blues?
St. Louis’s problems mostly come down to a lack of offensive production. Ryan O’Reilly has had a good start to the season, leading the Blues with ten goals & thirteen assists. Vladimir Tarasenko is second in both categories with six goals & ten assists, but it’s not the kind of start to a season that Blues fans have grown to expect out of him.
Jake Allen‘s production in goal has not been great. His 3.31 GAA & 5-6-3 record puts him towards the bottom end of NHL first-string goaltenders. He’s in goal tonight for St. Louis, as they obviously still trust him to be the guy. Otherwise, they never would have let Carter Hutton go.
St. Louis fans are dying for something good to happen this season, so a win over Nashville tonight would be big for them. It’d big for the team too in order to gain some confidence.
Nashville’s Projected Lineup
Based on morning practice, tonight’s lineup will look a lot like Wednesday’s…with two slightly major changes.
Fiala’s emergence on Wednesday night has bumped him back to the top line. I wonder if he’s not better served down the list though, as working with the likes of Gaudreau & Salomaki seemed to put some extra pep in his step.
Saros sits in for Rinne, and hopefully, the Predators will get a better showing out of him tonight. He’s 3-3 in his last six starts, but the goals allowed is what’s troubling. He’s allowed four or more goals in four out of those six games. As offensively-challenged as the Blues have been lately, a poor effort from Saros & the Predators’ defense could get them back on track.
I’m not going to lie, this feels like a letdown game to me. The Blues need to get something going & have everything to play for. Hopefully, I’m wrong and the Nashville Predators keep doing what they’ve done all year. No P.K. Subban? No Viktor Arvidsson? Hasn’t been a problem yet.