As the November slump continues for the Nashville Predators, things may not get any easier as they have back-to-back games with the defending champs.
The Nashville Predators have just one win in the month of November with five more chances to raise that win total. The next will come against the defending Stanley Cup champion St.Louis Blues.
Much different from the Predators currently, the Blues are rolling along and off to a much better start than what they went through last season. They’re 7-1-2 in their last ten outings, with their most recent win a 5-0 crushing of the Calgary Flames.
How the Blues are looking
The Blues have a five-point lead for first place in the division over Dallas and Colorado right now. They’ve built a 12-point cushion over the Predators, who are flirting with last place in the division alongside Minnesota.
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They’re getting balanced production from the entire lineup, but being led by David Perron with 21 points. Brayden Schenn and Ryan O’Reilly join Perron as the Blues have three players with 20-plus points
Jordan Binnington is picking up where he left off last season and looking solid through his first 18 starts. He’s got his goals against average down to 2.19 and his save percentage sitting at .926. He’s also dominated the Predators in his two career starts with a .960 save percentage.
Can the Predators bounce back finally?
You know what can change the current bleak outlook of the Predator right now? Getting a couple of wins against the defending champs and the team that’s currently running away in the division race. This is an outstanding opportunity for the Predators to reverse some negative vibes going their way right now.
The Predators did some things really well in their most recent outing against the Canucks which ended in a 6-3 loss. They took too many bad penalties, and the Canucks made them pay by connecting on five power play chances.
This is a correctable issues for the Predators. Stay out of the penalty box and keep this thing at 5-on-5 hockey. Also, the Predators have been doing a nice job at getting a lot of pucks to the net. They have to keep doing that and creating chaos in front of Binnington, who whoever else the Blues may decide to go with in net tonight.
Steven Santini has been reassigned back to the Milwaukee Admirals, so that short-lived experiment is over for now at least. That means either Matt Irwin or Yannick Weber will get back into the lineup and on the third pairing tonight.
Obviously the big topic is Kyle Turris being scratched the last two games and what’s the real reason behind it. I believe the writing is one the wall and his days are numbered with this organization. There’s no way you bench a top-six level forward for a minor league player with no NHL experience. Something is definitely up that we don’t completely know.
The Predators have to start getting better goaltending more than anything. Pekka Rinne has struggled mightily since shutting out Chicago late last month. Juuse Saros has been better as a starter, but hasn’t done well to stop the bleeding when coming in relief of Rinne.
Not sure who gets the start tonight, but I’d lean toward Saros as the better option. Saros seems to be seeing the puck better and settling down more to open games. The Predators desperately need one of their goaltenders to give them a gem in net to help propel them end this six-game skid.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7 P.M. CDT from St.Louis and will be televised on Fox Sports Tennessee. The Predators haven’t gotten a road win over the Blues in nearly two calendar years. They have to get off this slump sooner or later, and who better to do it against than the Stanley Cup champs.