Predators, Blues aim to get back on track
Tuesday, 12.29.2009 / 6:00 PM
NHL.comPREDATORS (22-14-3) at BLUES (17-16-5)
: Predators 6-3-1; Blues 5-5-0
: This is the third of six meetings this season. Each team has scored a 3-1 road win thus far. On Nov. 12, Jordin Tootoo scored the winning goal for the Predators with 3:43 remaining in the third period. Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand also scored goals and goalie Pekka Rinne earned the win. On Nov. 27, Brad Boyes
, David Backes
and Paul Kariya scored to give the Blues the victory and end Nashville’s win streak at seven. Goalie Chris Mason secured the win.
: Two teams are coming off bad losses, but are headed in opposite directions in the Central Division standings. The Predators are in second place, while the Blues are in fourth, only four points away from cellar-dwelling Columbus.
: Nashville is playing the second game in a three-game road trip that began with a 5-4 loss at Chicago on Sunday. It is also their third contest in four days.
The Predators rallied from a 4-2 third-period deficit to tie the score but lost on Patrick Kane's goal with 44 seconds remaining in regulation. Chicago beat the Predators for the second time in as many nights, moving eight points ahead of them atop the Central Division standings.
"It’s a tough feeling losing a game like that," defenseman Dan Hamhuis told The Tennessean. "We made a great comeback. We were down two goals and never gave up. We kept playing hard. We were rewarded with tying it up, and then the heartbreaker there at the end."
One positive was Martin Erat's 10th goal of December, tying a franchise record for goals in a month. The mark was first set by Jason Arnott in February 2009.
: This is the second game in a four-game home stand for St. Louis that began with a 5-3 loss against Buffalo on Sunday.
The Blues led 3-2 after two periods but surrendered three goals to the Sabres in the third period for the tough-luck loss. St. Louis outshot Buffalo, 35-24 but couldn't solve veteran netminder Patrick Lalime.
"We can't put our finger on it again ... it’s like earlier," Blues forward Brad Boyes
told the Post-Dispatch. "We’re getting opportunities ... we’re getting chances. Again (Sunday), we got lots of shots, but for some reason, it’s just not going through.
"I had a couple of chances in the first period, and I’ve got to put those in. That’s the difference. When you get those opportunities, you’ve got to score."
Blues coach Andy Murray said the team worked hard to earn power-play chances but failed to capitalize.
"We had some great shifts to draw a penalty, and then we would go on the power play and we didn’t sustain the pressure," Murray said.
: For the Predators, Patric Hornqvist has 4 goals and 3 assists in six games, Martin Erat has 10 goals and 6 assists in 12 games, and Marcel Goc has 3 goals and 5 assists in six games. For the Blues, Patrik Berglund
has 3 goals and 3 assists in four games, and David Perron
has 2 goals and an assist in four games.
: For the Predators, Jordin Tootoo (broken foot) and Jerred Smithson (foot hand) are on injured reserve. For the Blues, D.J. King
(hand) is on injured reserve.
: Nashville is 19-8-2 in 29 games since Oct. 28. … The Predators are 7-5-1 against intra-divisional foes this season. … The Predators have scored four or more goals 13 times in the last 21 games (including shootout winners). Prior to the current stretch, they had just three four or more goal games in the first 18 contests of 2009-10. … The Blues are 12-2-3 when leading after two periods. … The Blues are 14-4-1 when scoring three or more goals. … In one goal games this season, St. Louis is 8-2-5.
: "I'm OK if you're best effort is not good enough. But we need more people sacrificing. We need everyone all in. We had some guys who were not quite all in." -- Nashville coach Barry Trotz to The Tennessean