The Blues hit the road to Smashville this weekend, and depending on how the front office handles the trade deadline, some of the players might be travelling more than others this weekend. Rumors abound, and while a player can say they don't know about what's being said.... that's hard to believe. There's too much on the line. When fans and pundits are inflating or deflating your role on the team, it'd be easy to wonder "Why should we try anymore?" It’s hard to imagine how a player can focus on the game at hand, including travel and back-to-back games, with the trade deadline looming over their heads. Nonetheless, they must, and there’s a job to do today.
Rolling into the All Star Game the host Predators had 4 players participating, but none were more laughable than The Best Goaltender in The World (™). Lost amidst the "John Scott doesn’t belong in the ASG" furor was that the Central Division squad had Pekka Rinne in net, at the time sporting a .906 Save Percentage. But, as part of the hometown squad, no one inquired as to what Rinne's hypothetical daughters thought of that selection. That should make things easier, right?
Pekka Rinne in his past four starts: 3-0-1, 0.98 GAA, .969 SV%. I think he's good to go.— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) February 26, 2016
The Preds are in the thick of a playoff chase, working to keep pace with the Avs and ahead of the rebounding (?) Wilds. To that end, the Preds have gone 6-1-3 in their last 10 games and have won their last 3 in a row. That last win was doing us a solid, beating the Hawks 3-1 on Thursday. They’re actually on quite a run, with points in 8 straight games. Well-timed, then, to be playing them right now.
The Preds are led by Roman Josi in points, with 44 in total (11G, 33A). Next is goals leader Filip Forsberg with 42 points (23G, 19A). The Predators have never been considered an offensive powerhouse, but they can get the handful they need to give the Blues some grief. The two teams are pretty comparable, actually - the Blues are +5 in goal differential, and Nashville is +4. The Blues have scored 157 times this year (who knew?), while the #Perds have scored 162 times. For similar offensive output, the difference between the two teams has been goaltending. Where the Blues are in the top 5 with a .921 Save Percentage, the Predators have a .906. The Blues netminders seem to get half as much credit as goalies on other teams.
While celebrating in the Hockey Tonk, we'll also be watching for the latest trade updates. Apparently, Chicago is wheeling and dealing, as only Chicago can. A classic case of "the rich get richer" but wealth won't save your soul. History says that this will be a one-goal game, and somewhat less than exciting. All of us in Nashville this weekend will have to make our own fun. Somehow, I don’t think that’ll be a problem. There may even be some howlin' at the moon later tonight.
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Final Verse: It’s a matinee game today, with the puck dropping at 2:00 St Louis time. Not like anybody needs an excuse for day drinking, but the NHL was generous enough to provide one anyway. It'd be a shame to waste it. The TV broadcast is on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. The GDT should drop shortly before the puck does. Come join us, won't you? With so many of us in Nashville, we'll definitely need y'all to pick up the slack.