Originally posted on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 2/22/12

Season Records

St. Louis Blues 36-17-7

Nashville Predators 35-19-16

Shea Weber and Ryan Suter lead the Predators down the stretch to the playoffs.

The St. Louis Blues visit Bridgestone Arena on Thursday night to face off against the Nashville Predators in a battle for fourth place overall in the Western Conference. Just three points separate the two teams in the standings and a win in regulation would put the Predators one shy of taking over the coveting fourth spot.

The Blues are coming off of a 4-2 loss Wednesday night against the Boston Bruins and visit Music City on a rare two-game losing streak. The Blues have only lost three in a row once this season, at the end of December, and one of those games was a shootout loss to the Predators. The Blues have not lost three consecutive games in regulation this season.

The Blues struggle on the road, however, and while they have one of the best home records in the League, they sit at 10-13-3 away from Scottrade Center. It won’t be an easy task for St. Louis to get the best of Nashville at Bridgestone Arena, however. Entering Thursday’s contest, the Predators have won 15 of their last 18 games on home ice, and St. Louis is struggling to find offense on the road. Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Today reports that the Blues are averaging just under 2.00 goals per game while on the road.

The Predators hope to couple their home-ice domination with their stellar intra-divisional play to walk away with their third consecutive win. Nashville’s intra-division record is third best in the League, behind only Boston (13-3-0) and Vancouver (14-3-1). The Predators have a 13-3-2 record against the ever-competitive Central Division.

The Predators will hope to have Patric Hornqvist back in the lineup. After practice on Monday, Predators head coach Barry Trotz said Thursday’s game was a realistic time-table for the forward’s return. It is not certain if Hornqvist will be in the lineup against the Blues. Wednesday was an off day for Nashville.

St. Louis is nursing some injuries. Jamie Langenbrunner is out with a broken left foot and is expected to miss at least the next four weeks. Alex Steen and Matt D’Agostini are both out of the lineup with concussions. Rutherford says that the return of Steen and D’Agostini is still unclear and with Langenbrunner out, “Vladimir Sobotka would join a line with Backes and Oshie. David Perron will switch to right wing and play with Patrik Berglund and Andy McDonald.”

Thursday’s game will be the fifth time the two teams meet and the final time they play in Nashville during the regular season. The Predators have already won the season series with a 4-0-0 record against the Blues.

The Predators continue their homestand on Saturday when the San Jose Sharks visit Music City, before ending the four-game homestand on Monday when the Los Angeles Kings are in town.

 

 

 

Photo credit: Getty Images

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