St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators: Don't Make this Harder on Yourself

With only seven games left in the regular season for both teams, an enormous matchup between the Blues and Predators will be center stage for the playoff race on Thursday.
Feb 17, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (55) pressures
Feb 17, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko (55) pressures / Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports
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The 18-game point streak kind of feels like ancient history at the moment with the St. Louis Blues coming to town on Thursday to take on the Nashville Predators.

The Predators have stumbled onto a three-game skid with losses to the Coyotes, Avalanche and Bruins. They had a 4-2 lead over the Avalanche before penalties were there ultimate undoing, and a defensive struggle ended up going the way of the Bruins on Tuesday.

As for the Blues, they're like an annoying cold that you just can't shake no matter how much NyQuil you take. They have only lost two games in regulation since March 11, with one of those in 4-3 fashion to the Avalanche.

. 40-31-4 (84P). Thurs, April 4. 43-28-4 (90P). 151. 99. Hulu, ESPN+. Preds. 7 PM CT

This Feels Like a Must Win, Even If It's Not

Going into Thursday night's action, the Predators are still overwhelmingly favored to make the playoffs. MoneyPuck has their probability at 98.4 percent, with the Blues at 2.4 percent. So why does it still feel like this is a must-win on Thursday night?

For one, you don't want to back into the playoffs. The Predators need to recapture that winning edge they had over the point streak, and it starts with finishing on scoring chances and reigniting the power play that has fallen flat.

Even with a Blues win over the Predators in regulation, their odds only go up to six percent, while the Predators' odds will fall down to 95.7 percent. So the probabilities suggest the Predators will be just fine even if they lose this game to the Blues.

Sorry, but I'm just not convinced. They need to spare us the suspense and really put the Blues out of their misery. And in the season series, the Predators have had rather dominating success against the Blues in two games.

The two teams last met on February 17 in a 5-2 win for the Predators which began the 18-game point streak. The Predators also beat the Blues 8-3 way back on November 24. This will be the first and only regular season meeting at Bridgestone Arena.

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Both teams are pretty close to full strength on the injury front for being this late in the season. They do have third line winger Kevin Hayes listed as a gametime decision due to an illness.

The Predators have recently gotten back to full strength in their defensive corps, leaving them with some tough decisions to make on who to start. On Tuesday against Boston in a solid defensive performance overall, Spencer Stastney got the start over Dante Fabbro. We'll have to see if Head Coach Andrew Brunette decides to stick with the same starting lineup, or switch some guys out.

The Blues are led by the very talented Robert Thomas with 74 points, 51 being assists, on the season. He is a strong presence as the top line center for the Blues.

It's unconfirmed who the Predators will see between the pipes for the Blues, but you would expect it to be Jordan Binnington who is always very streaky, but is coming off an impressive outing making 36 saves against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.

Expect the Predators to come out aggressive right out of the gate and take chances against the Blues defensive front. There should be much more room to operate and make things happen in the offensive zone as opposed to their meeting with the Bruins.

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