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Predatorial Pregame Warmup: October 26, 2013


Oct 26, 2013

Written by: Kristopher Martel


Last updated: October 26, 2013 at 3:32 pm

NOTE: Viktor Stalberg will be scratched for his second straight game


Nashville Predators (6-4-1) vs St. Louis Blues (5-1-2)
Gametime: 7:00pm CT / 8:00pm ET
Television: FS-Midwest (not local), NHL Center Ice
Radio: 102.5 The Game



Nashville Predators - Roman Josi (concussion), Pekka Rinne (bacterial infection)

St. Louis Blues - N/A

Projected Goaltending Matchup

Carter Hutton, 2-0-0, 0 SO, 0.939Sv%, 1.37GAA


Jaroslav Halak, 5-1-1, 1 SO, 0.912Sv%, 2.35GAA

Keep an eye on...

Nashville Predators -

Matt Cullen – The statsheet doesn’t really tell the entire story for Matt Cullen of his past handful of games. Cullen was credited with three shots Thursday night against Winnipeg, however he was all over the ice and nearly scored the overtime winner four minutes prior to Craig Smith collecting it instead. With Bourque and Smith lineup up with him, Cullen has had a plethora of chances to score this season, but has been held to just two goals. If Nashville finds scoring against a stingy St. Louis Blues team, expect Matt Cullen to be a part of it

St. Louis Blues -

Vladimir Sobotka – The 26 year old center for the St. Louis Blues has five points on the season, but he’s hungry for more. After scoring a goal last night against the Vancouver Canucks in a 3-2 overtime loss, Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock is moving him up a line to switch spots with fellow center Derek Roy:

“This is the best he’s played since I’ve had him here. He’s got speed, he’s got tenacity,” said Hitchcock. “He was the best player on the ice for both teams (Friday). That’s why he’s moving up the ladder today.”

Main Storylines

Nashville Predators -

Take away their opening pair of losses against both St. Louis and Colorado, the Nashville Predators have had a pretty good stretch of games lately. 6-2-1 in their past nine, Nashville has allowed only seven goals in their past five games. Granted, they’ve only scored nine in the same span, they’ve done enough to break into a winning record early in the season.

The Predators offense has been led from a “scoring-by-committee” approach, with Craig Smith (two goals, five assists) and David Legwand (one goal, six assists) on top with seven points apiece. Patric Hornqvist sits alone at the top of goal scoring with four goals in his eleven games, trailed by Shea Weber who has three.

With Pekka Rinne out for the next few weeks, Carter Hutton has earned the nod in two of the last three games, starting the season with a 2-0-0 record and a sub-2.00 goals against average. Magnus Hellberg will get some playing time soon, but Hutton will be Nashville’s primary bread and butter during Rinne’s injury recovery

St. Louis Blues -

St. Louis is tied for having played the fewest games in the NHL this season, so far, with eight. Finishing a back-to-back tonight against Nashville and sandwiching another back-to-back after this upcoming Tuesday’s game against Winnipeg, the Blues will be looking to improve on 5-1-2 record they currently have. After winning four in a row to start the year, they’ve dropped three of their last four coming into tonight’s contest.

Alex Steen is on a hot streak, to say the least. Steen’s eight goals tie him for second in the NHL and his 13 points place him at sixth overall. David Backes and T.J. Oshie are the next closest players on the statsheet with nine points (six goals and three assists) and seven points (one goal and six assists) respectively for the Blues.

Jaroslav Halak has been the man between the pipes for St. Louis, bringing a 5-1-1 record into tonight’s game against Nashville. Already with a shutout in his first seven games, his 2.35 goals against average and 0.912 save percentage are among some of the best in the league

Last time out...

Not starting themselves on the right foot, Nashville dropped their second straight home opener in a 4-2 loss against the St. Louis Blues. David Backes and Alex Steen both scored a goal and an assist, while Alex Pietrangelo added in two assists.

One interesting fact...

Nashville’s penalty kill has been getting the job done. For seven straight games, the Predators have gone without allowing a powerplay goal on 22 straight attempts.


Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua