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Predators At Blues Game Preview: Blues Need To Pick Up Where They Left Off

The Blues' homestand was interrupted by the All-Star Break, but the team can still end it on a high note.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Predators have taken three of four from the Blues so far that season. That's six points that St. Louis has let slip away. Nashville leads the Central by five points, and the Blues've lost each of those three games by one goal. If things ended differently, the Blues would be considered the favorite to win the Central. Barring catastrophe, right now the Preds are probably that favorite

It's been rough to play against the Predators and Pekka Rinne this season; it probably won't be any easier to play against Carter Hutton, either. Rinne going down was seen by many as the catastrophe that no one wanted to deal with in Nashville, but it hasn't been the catastrophe everyone expected would derail the Preds' season despite Hutton's 2.87 GAA. They have lost two of their last three games, but they're also 7-1-2 in their last ten. Losses happen; they're not signs of the Predators' demise. The Blues're going to have to cause that on their own.

Tonight the Blues have a look at former Predator (and Panther, and most recently, Penguin) Marcel Goc. The trade initially had fans scratching their heads, but after looking at the stats, Doug Armstrong's statements to Jeremy Rutherford make sense:

"The one area, I think it’s going to free Ott and Reaves up to be a little more reckless down on the forecheck," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "Marcel is a very confident, very established player and very responsible and I think it’s going to allow maybe our forecheck to be a little more intense off the wings."

Basically, Goc is responsible. While the thought of a reckless Steve Ott is somewhere between incomprehensible and terrifying, Goc's skill will come in handy on the penalty kill, as well as playing the part of the fourth-line center that has to shut down offense.

The Blues' own offense has been clicking, their defense has gotten back to normal (especially Alex Pietrangelo, who has steadily improved over January), and Brian Elliott has been playing well. There's no reason that the Blues can't win tonight. A one-goal game would be perfectly acceptable - but only in regulation, and only if the Blues come out on top.