Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 2/6/12
There's something about the Central Division that sets off the Nashville Predators. Nashville once again beat up on its middle-of-the-country brethren with a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday. The victory moved the Predators to 12-2-2 against the Central, far and away the best mark within the division. With the victory, the Predators also continued their climb in the standings. They rest in second place in the Central with 68 points. If the concern going into the game was defense, the Predators quelled those fears by allowing just one goal. In Nashville's previous two games, the Predators had allowed seven non empty net goals. With the victory, G Pekka Rinne won his 11th consecutive contest. The Predators now have the NHL's best record since Dec. 28, going 14-3-0 in their last 17 contests. The Predators are doing it mostly with defense. Nashville has allowed just 1.94 goals in that span. On Tuesday, the Predators have a big contest against the Vancouver Canucks. If Nashville wants to continue to prove it's for real, it needs to catch the teams in front of it. Vancouver would be one of those squads. It would also give the Predators a small sense of payback against the team that beat them in the postseason a year ago. NOTES, QUOTES RW Martin Erat doesn't often score on slap shots. Erat, who is known for shiftiness and uses a stick that goes near his chest, often relies on the wrist shot or snap shots. He's also normally good for tip-ins and tap-ins. But at the 6:59 mark of the first period Erat blasted a slap shot past Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak. "The thing about Marty is he's scoring in different ways. How many slap shots have you seen him take in 14 years? Not a lot, but he's doing that more," coach Barry Trotz said. "I like the fact that Marty isn't just playing one way; he's adapting to the game. To me, he's one of the most underrated players in the league." After a night off, G Pekka Rinne continued his hot streak, with 42 saves on 43 St. Louis shots. Rinne has now won a franchise-record 11 consecutive games, dating back to Jan. 7. On Thursday in Philadelphia, the coaching staff decided to give Rinne a rare night of rest. St. Louis' 43 shots were the most allowed by Nashville this season. "It was a party. It's always fun," Rinne said. "It keeps you in the game and you get the flow going, and when you stay in the game it gets easier. But at the same time, next game I get 15-20 shots and you have to be ready for that. You just have to be ready each night; it doesn't matter what type of game." C Mike Fisher tied RW Patric Hornqvist for the Predators' lead in goal scoring. Fisher buried his 15th goal of the season in the first period. Fisher has seven goals in his last seven games. The Predators also have nine players with 10 or more goals scored this season. "That's how we're wired and lined up in terms of our lines. Everyone is capable of scoring," Trotz said. QUOTE TO NOTE "The division is so hard and we have to take all the points we can right now. It's going to be a battle until the end, because in the end we always have to play against St. Louis, Detroit and Chicago. Other teams have maybe a bit more free passes." -- RW Martin Erat. ROSTER REPORT LW Sergei Kostitsyn notched a goal and an assist. He has 14 points in his last 15 games. Saturday was his third multi-point performance in his last 10 games. G Pekka Rinne made a season-high 42 saves on 43 St. Louis shots. Rinne has won a franchise-record 11 straight games. The Predators re-inserted RW Brandon Yip into the lineup in place of RW Jerred Smithson. Yip, who sat out the previous game as a healthy scratch, played 16:15.
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