The Nashville Predators have been an annual playoff contender since the 2013-2014 season, and have only missed the postseason three times since the 2003-2004 season. To call them consistent is an understatement. More recently they’ve been consistency good, heading to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 and winning the Central Division and the Presidents Trophy last season.
This season, though, they’ve gotten off to a very inconsistent start. With 21 games under their belt, they’re at 9-9-3 and are stuck in a four game losing streak. They’re 2-6-2 in their last ten games and got embarrassed 6-3 at home against the Vancouver Canucks.
Neither of the Preds’ goaltenders are playing like they need to. Pekka Rinne has a 8-4-2 record, which is fine, but his performance in those losses have been very unlike him. Right now he’s sitting at a 3.06 GAA and .889 save percentage. Juuse Saros is 1-5-0 with a 3.34 GAA and a .888 SV%. Rinne hasn’t won since November 4th, and here’re his stats for the last five games:
Rinne allowed five power play goals to the Canucks Thursday night, so I believe that the Blues have figured out their key to success. Draw some penalties.
Preds captain Roman Josi is taking a positive view of tonight’s game:
“It’s a great time to be playing a team like St Louis. They’re the defending champs, and they’ve been playing really well this year. We’re having a tough time right now, so it’s a great test for us and it’s a great time to get out of this.”
Power of positive thought can’t hurt, especially when you’re playing a team who plowed through the Flames 5-0 at home and who is still adding points despite being short Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexander Steen and now Sammy Blais.
Troy Brouwer won’t be contributing tonight thanks to his visa hold-up, so the line-up against Nashville will be the same as it was in Thursday night’s victory against Calgary. That’s good news for Zach Sanford, who had four points to himself on a line that scored nine. Jordan Binnington and his 40 save shutout is silencing the doubters. What signs the team is showing of a Cup hangover appear mild, and a convincing win over the Predators tonight’ll be a welcome two more points in the bank. The Blues have a five point lead over the Avalanche and the Stars right now, but the bigger the cushion the better, regardless of what stage of the season they’re in.