Last season, the Blues dropped four of six games to the Nashville Predators, thanks to the tight Nashville defense and the wall-like goaltending of Pekka Rinne. In fact, it took until the last two games for the Blues to finally figure everything out, winning 3-2 and 3-0. Barry Trotz and the Predators defense were a difficult puzzle to figure out last year.
Much like the Blues' first opponent, the Detroit Red Wings, the Predators have lost a pretty major cog on defense. Instead of losing Nicklas Lidstrom to retirement, the Predators lost Ryan Suter to free agency. Suter signed a 10 year, $100 million contract with the Minnesota Wild this past offseason. Sure, they re-signed Hall Gill, but he was on the third line on Saturday night. Who's paired with the Predators' top defenseman Shea Weber now? Roman Josi. Josi has about half a season of NHL experience, with a 5-11-16 line and a -1 rating, which isn't exactly Suter numbers. However, if you look at his Swiss League numbers, you can tell that there's a lot of room for growth. Unfortunately for the Preds, that growth won't happen by this early evening's game.
The Predators' roster doesn't look overwhelming at first glance, but that's one of their assets. They've never looked overwhelming, and yet they're one of the most solid teams in the NHL. They're consistent, they're good, and they were a pain in the Blues' craw last year. Can the Blues replicate the offensive attack they had Saturday night? If so, then they stand a very good chance of taking down the Predators today. Chris Stewart and Vladimir Tarasenko were dominant, and the power play looks like it's been firing on all cylinders for months. There's absolutely no excuse as to why the Blues couldn't make the Predators look as pylon-esque as they did the Red Wings.
No Wade Redden tonight (he's still working out immigration stuff) so the line-up'll be the same as it was Saturday. Jaroslav Halak will be in net, and... drumroll please... it's Barret Jackman's 600th game! Someone get that man a cookie and a round of applause.
Stay tined for Road Music, coming up at 2:00.