LAST 10: St. Louis 6-4-0; Nashville 5-3-2
Season Series: It's the fifth of six meetings between the Central Division rivals, and the Blues have yet to win won. The Predators have allowed just five goals while winning twice at home and twice in St. Louis.
Big Story: It's crunch time for the Blues, who've been one of the NHL's best home teams (26-4-4) but are beginning a six-game road trip and play only seven of their last 22 games at home. They have yet to solve the Predators this season, and a win will move Nashville within a point of their division rivals in what could be a first-round playoff matchup.
Blues: St. Louis had gone more than 10 weeks without a home loss in regulation, but that streak ended Wednesday night when the Boston Bruins came to Scottrade Center and left with a 4-2 victory. Now the Blues come to a place where neither they nor their coach has had much success.
"I thought we played really well that whole second period," said coach Ken Hitchcock, who is 0-11-1-6 with in his last 18 games in Nashville. "We just couldn't get that (game-tying) goal even when we had all the play in their zone."
Predators: Though his team is solidly ensconced in fifth place in the West and is looking up rather than down in the standings, Nashville coach Barry Trotz is not taking a postseason berth for granted.
"We're at home here, and you've got to get some points," Trotz said following the opener of the four-game stretch at Bridgestone Arena. "We've got a little bit of separation from eight place, but it's not enough."
Who's Hot: Nashville's Mike Fisher had a goal and two assists in Tuesday's 3-1 win against Vancouver and has 11 goals and 22 points in the new year. Linemate Martin Erat has five goals and 21 points in the same span.
Injury Report: St. Louis forward Jamie Langenbrunner is out for a month with a broken foot. Also sidelined are forward Matt D'Agostini (head) and center Alex Steen (concussion). … Nashville is missing forwards Patrik Hornqvist and Brian McGrattan with upper-body injuries.
Stat Pack: Nashville is 11-0-3 when Fisher scores. … The Predators are on an 8-0-1 run at home; it's their longest streak without a loss at Bridgestone Arena since they went a 9-0-3 from Oct. 14-Dec. 16, 2006. … Nashville's Jordin Tootoo has better offensive numbers against the Blues than any other NHL team. He has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 36 career games against St. Louis
Puck Drop: One reason for Nashville's success this season has been an improved power play. The Predators have 43 PPGs in 60 games; that's two more than they scored all last season. Nashville entered Thursday with the NHL's second-ranked power play at 21.7 percent.
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