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Blues at Predators Game Preview: What will the impact of Bortuzzo’s suspension be?

The Preds are angry. Can you blame them?

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

With Robert Bortuzzo suspended four games for his cross-check on Viktor Arvidsson, the Blues had to make a phone call to San Antonio. Derrick Pouliot, who has 200 games of NHL experience, will get a chance to enjoy Nashville’s pressbox while Carl Gunnarsson returns to the line-up.

The Rampage’s top scorer, Nathan Walker, will act as the press-box designee until whatever is happening with Troy Brouwer’s visa is resolved. It was expected that he would play tonight, and he’s designated as a non-roster player so if it gets approved before the end of the business day he can step in as needed.

With Klim Kostin scoring his first NHL goal on Saturday night, chances are good he won’t be the one coming out of the lineup to make room for Brouwer, should he be cleared to play.

On Saturday, the Blues let the Predators - a game in the middle of a six-game losing streak - run roughshod over them. Bortuzzo made a poor decision, and now Arvidsson is out from four to six weeks. Brayden Schenn was contrite after the loss, saying:

“They got a couple bounces early, but even saying that, that’s not our brand of hockey,” Blues forward Brayden Schenn said after the game. “Turned over the puck too much, sat back, didn’t take care of the puck and it (caused) them to get good chances and break out with the puck. Our turnovers led to their offense and we have to clean it up for next time.”

The other issue, aside from turnovers and general confusion as to what “clearing the crease” constitutes, was that the power play took the entire game to click. It looked like they were skating - and passing - through sludge. The team’s PP is built on quick, crisp passes, and when those were executed properly, Jaden Schwartz was able to pull the team within one.

All around, the Blues are going to need to be significantly less sloppy tonight and will have to understand that the Preds are going to come out of the gate figuratively - and possibly literally - swinging.

And for the love of God, someone defend against Filip Forsberg. He has 13 goals and 12 assists in 26 games against the Blues. You would think, that by this point, the whole team would have their head on a swivel to deal with him.