The Nashville Predators will return to the ice tonight at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis and hope to make it two in a row in an unusual scheduling situation where the team opened with back to back games on the road against divisional opponents, a first in franchise history.
Last night's 3-2 win over Columbus was pure "Predator hockey" with Pekka Rinne starting his chase for the Vezina in a solid effort, a strong defensive effort, and just enough scoring to win.
Rinne was held out of practice on Thursday with "flu symptoms" but appeared to be in mid-season form on Friday night. Josh Cooper reported that Rinne was first off the ice at morning skate today so it appears that he will go again against the Blues.
When the Predators took the ice in their opening game, they were officially the youngest team in the NHL (25 yrs, 8 months) and most were homegrown with 17 players on the 23 man roster (and 16 of the 20 that dressed) being products of David Poile's drafting ability.
The Predators struggled against the Blues last season, going 2-3-1. Their last meeting was in the season finale on April 9 when the Blues took a 2-0 victory that kept the Predators out of fourth place and prevented home ice advantage for their first round playoff series against Anaheim.
Most of the Blues success last season was due to Jaroslav Halak's three shutouts against Nashville. He allowed just three goals in his last five starts against the Preds going 4-0-1, 0.60 GAA, .978 save % during those games.
As always, fans should expect a close game as 14 of the last 21 meetings between the Preds and Blues being decided by a single goal. In spite of last year's poor showing, the Preds are 14-7 in St. Louis since the 2005-06 season and 29-9-4 overall during that span.
The Blues feature a couple of ex-Preds new to the team this season. Scotty Nichol and Jason Arnott were brought on board during the off-season to provide a veteran presence to the young squad. Other imports include Jamie Langenbrunner and Brian Elliot.
Puck drop will be at 7 p.m. CDT and will be on Fox Sports Tennessee.
Other game previews come from Ryan Porth, Amanda DiPaolo, Josh Cooper, Paul McCann, and Dirk Hoag.
Previews from St. Louis come from the Post-Dispatch, BlueNote Zone, Frozen Notes, Belleville Sports, Bleedin' Blue, and St. Louis Game Time.
Here is the Notes Package from NHL Media Services.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass