Predators at Blues
The Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues both got to experience the compressed schedule early with three games in the first four days of the season. Having to face only teams in their own conference, the Central Division rivals already will be meeting for the second time when St. Louis hosts Nashville on Thursday. The Blues posted a 4-3 shootout win in Nashville on Monday after scoring the tying goal in the third period.
The Predators fought through some tough luck in each of their first two games - dropping both in a shootout - but secured their first win on Tuesday in an emotional game against former teammate Ryan Suter and the Minnesota Wild. Nashville was perfect on the penalty kill in the 3-1 triumph. The Blues have converted two-thirds of their power-play opportunities but dug themselves too big of a hole in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Tennessee (Nashville), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (1-0-2): Top goaltender Pekka Rinne got the day off after the two shootout losses as Chris Mason took over and became the oldest goalie to start and win for Nashville with a 29-save effort at Minnesota. After squandering one-goal leads in each of their two shootout losses, the Predators were the aggressors against the Wild on Tuesday. Nick Spaling scored the tying goal late in the first period, and Martin Erat and David Legwand tallied in the third to secure the win. Rinne likely will be back in net on Thursday and in the majority going forward. Nashville, which began a franchise high-tying seven-game road trip at Minnesota, will not play on back-to-back days again until Feb. 9 and 10.
ABOUT THE BLUES (2-1-0): St. Louis made a statement on opening night with a 6-0 trashing of perennial contender Detroit at home. A pair of road games since have proven to be more challenging. The Blues needed to come from behind to force the shootout in Nashville and fell behind 3-0 at Chicago on Tuesday before rallying for a pair of third-period goals. St. Louis went an entire month last season without surrendering a power-play goal but has allowed three over the last two contests. Its own power play, which has converted six of nine opportunities, has so far made up for the occasional breakdown on the other end.
1. Four of the last six meetings in the all-time series have gone to a shootout.
2. Nashville C Paul Gaustad (upper body) has missed the last two games and is questionable for Thursday.
3. St. Louis signed veteran D Wade Redden late last week. He could see his first action against the Predators.