It seems like a while since the Nashville Predators played at home, but it's will be sixteen days after tonight before they grace the ice at Bridgestone Arena once again.
Tonight, the Predators (5-0-3) put their undefeated in regulation streak on the line for the ninth time this season against the St. Louis Blues (4-1-2), who they faced two weeks ago when the Preds prevailed in a 4-3 win which remains the Blues only regulation loss.
The Predators are coming off road wins over Dallas and Tampa Bay over the weekend and have been idle for three days. The Blues also won their last two games at home over the weekend against Chicago and Pittsburgh.
The Predators have some of the most balanced scoring in the league with 13 players with three or more points. In the game in Tampa. 12 different players pointed on the teams four goals.
T.J Oshie leads the Blues with 8 points (1 goal, 7 assists) while David Perron leads in goals with four.
With both teams coming off several days of rest, barring any surprises, the number one goalies should see action tonight. Pekka Rinne (2-0-2, 1.58 gaa, .955) should face Jaroslav Halak (4-1-1, 1.81, .929) in a matchup of two of the leagues best netminders.
Special teams should be key in what should be a low scoring affair. The Preds and Blues have similar stats on the power play (Nashville 16.1%, St. Louis 16.7%) and the penalty kill (Nash. 82.1%, St.L. 80.8%).
There is a big difference in the number of penalties taken with the Preds having the second fewest (10.1 min per game) and the Blues having the most in the league (21.9 mpg).
The Preds will continue to play with out the services of Ryan Suter (knee), Marcel Goc (shoulder), and Matthew Lombardi (concussion). Replacements for these key injured players have played well in their absence with Alexander Sulzer playing the best hockey of his brief career and Nick Spaling bringing stability to the Predators penalty kill.
The Blues expect to have the services of Cam Janssen for the first time since he went on IR on October 10. The Blues lost the services of defenseman Roman Polak with a severed tendon in his wrist and recalled Nathan Oystrick from Peoria yesterday. Nikita Nikitin is also out.
Puck drop should be shortly after 7 p.m. and the game is not televised locally. Tickets remain for the game which will be the last chance to see the Predators for quite a while.
Other game previews from Predland come from Amanda DiPaolo, Chris Burton and the Tennessean.
Fore Previews from the Blues point of view, check out the St Louis Post Dispatch and St. Louis Gametime.
In Pred Nation...
Josh Cooper has news that Marcel Goc skated at practice yesterday and that the Preds are in no hurry getting Ryan Suter back. Josh also talks about the team's fast start with several players. Finally, Cody Franson reveals his relationship to Bobby Orr.
Colin Wilson's blog at Inside Predators focuses on Jerred Smithson's DJ abilities and Colin getting his apartment cleaned by his mother.
Jim Diamond applauds the excellent play of Alexander Sulzer who is making a case to stay in the lineup when Ryan Suter returns.
Dirk Hoag makes the case for Central Division Supremacy and has a poll as to who will reign.
Amanda DiPaolo discusses the Preds' extended road trips that start after tonight's game.
Mark Willoughby takes a shot at the local media as he presents the video of the check presentation to A-Game Sportsplex by the Predators.
David Boclair has a story about the Predators comfort level in one goal games.
The Badger Herald has a good piece on Blake Geoffrion that looks to his past and his future.
Chris Burton has a roundup of a bunch of power ratings for the week. Hopefully, the Preds will not fall from their lofty ratings.
Paul McCann was back with his weekly Slap Shot Radio last night. Kerry Frazier, Darren Pang and Barry Trotz were guests. The podcast will be available on the web site.
Dan Bradley at Excellence Through Guesswork Hockey has his weekly update.
Terry Crisp was on Puck Daddy Radio yesterday which can be heard here.
In Goal Magazine takes a look at the new mask from Pekka Rinne.
Around the NHL...
Ryan Porth discloses his all under-rated team. This is a good discussion starter. I like the Nichol, Suter and Ward picks.
Mike Ross at NHL Home Ice talked with Eric Cole yesterday and the end of the interview is interesting when he talks about the game with the KHL during the preseason.
The CBC has the surprise five of the young season. Should the Preds really be that surprising?
From the Rink looks around the league at the 1/10 pole. After last night's loss, the Devils do appear to have a lock on worst start. Could John MacLean's job be in jeopardy? Rick Chere asks the question.
It's time to fish or cut bait for the Islanders on Nino Niederreiter at to keep him or send him back to Juniors. Michael Schuerlein has the story.
Teemu Selanne passed Bobby Hull on the all-time goal list on Tuesday night. That one was a little under the radar for me.
The NHL Board of Governors and the Officials’ Association ratified a new four year deal as part of their collective bargaining agreement.
While on the subject of officials, would you like to see comments from the refs after the game. Tim Wharnsby discusses the issue.
Will Craig Anderson going down be the most significant injury of the season? For a team that lived and dies with his efforts last year, others will have to step up. On the positive side, John-Michael Lyles set an NHL record for D-Men in having an assist in nine straight games to start the season.
Later yesterday, we found that Anderson's injury may not be as bad as feared.
The Team Marketing Report is out and Puck Daddy transforms the raw data into a "Beer Drinkers Cost Per Period" which is probably more usable for most folks. As far as average ticket prices, the Preds are middle of the pack.
Here's another team specific podcast, The Bolts Beat. I love the variety of all the podcast available. James "Tapeleg" Gralian redid my hockey podcast aggregator into something that is much nicer and more usable.
Down Goes Brown has a defenseman's guide on how to handle the pressure in the NHL.
Contrary to what we have heard, Jeff Skinner wants to be returned to Juniors so he won't have to live in Raleigh all year.
Odds and Ends...
Is consumerism winning the war on Cancer? Dalia Kurtz shares her thoughts.
Here are forty passive-aggressive parking notes.
For fans of The Office, here are some of the costumes from tonight's special Halloween show.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass