Blues and Predators meet again

By
Updated: January 24, 2013

The St. Louis Blues aim to rebound from their first loss of
the season on Thursday night as they take on the Nashville Predators for the
second time in four days.

The defending Central Division champs kicked off the season with a win over
the visiting Detroit Red Wings before logging a shootout victory at Nashville
on Monday. However, the Blues got their scoring too late on Tuesday night in
Chicago, falling to the Blackhawks 3-2.

Down 3-0, St. Louis did not net its first goal until Andy McDonald’s tally
4:40 into the third frame. A power-play goal from T.J. Oshie with 5:07 to play
made it a one-goal game, but Chicago held on.

“That wasn’t the team we’re capable of being. It took us a while to get
going,” McDonald said. “I just think we didn’t manage the puck well and didn’t
make the plays that we’re normally capable of making.”

Brian Elliott yielded a goal in each period, ending with 24 saves. He got the
start after relieving Jaroslav Halak in Monday’s 4-3 shootout win at
Nashville.

Elliott stopped all 13 shots he faced through overtime and both skaters in the
shootout. Oshie and Alexander Steen both scored in the breakaway frame to seal
the win, St. Louis’ third straight over Nashville.

The Blues have points in 10 of their last 12 versus the Predators, going
7-2-3, and are expected to start Halak in this game. The netminder has a
career 1.86 goals against average versus the Preds.

Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko scored a goal and had two assists in the win over
Nashville, giving him five points through his first two NHL games. However,
the Blues forward was held without a point against the Blackhawks.

Pekka Rinne made 36 saves against the Blues in his second start in as many
games for Nashville. He also manned the net in the club’s season-opening
shootout defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

After a pair of shootout setbacks at home, the Predators played in Minnesota
on Tuesday and notched a 3-1 win over the Wild. Martin Erat had the game-
winner, scoring after he intercepted a clearing attempt in the third period
during a 4-on-4 situation.

Nick Spaling and David Legwand also tallied for the Predators, who began a
franchise record-tying seven-game road trip.

“We had a little bit of a slow start, but as the game went on we started to
get better and better,” said Spaling. “We just have to work on putting a full
game together.”

Rinne got the night off against the Blue Jackets, with Chris Mason making 29
saves. He signed a one-year deal this offseason to serve as Rinne’s backup and
made his first start since April 5 with the Winnipeg Jets.

Nashville has won seven of its last 10 in St. Louis.

Wade Redden could make his Blues debut after being activated to the roster on
Wednesday. To make room for the defenseman, who had his contract bought out
earlier this season by the New York Ranges, St. Louis assigned blueliner Ian
Cole to the AHL.