NHL

Sat, Apr 9, 2011 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Predators-Blues Preview

Share This Story

   
 

After clinching the franchise's sixth playoff berth in seven seasons, the Nashville Predators want more.

The Predators can gain the Western Conference's No. 4 seed with a non-shootout victory on the road Saturday night against the St. Louis Blues.

Nashville (44-26-11) defeated lowly Columbus 4-1 on Friday to clinch a playoff spot. Thanks to other fortuitous results, the Predators now have a clear path to gain home-ice advantage in the first round.

"We said we want to go as high as we can, and if we can get two more points (Saturday) night that'd be huge for us as a team and an organization," coach Barry Trotz said. "You're talking about maybe the possibility of home ice. Home ice has been an advantage for us this past month. We'll take it right now."

The Predators and Phoenix are tied with 99 points, but Nashville owns the tiebreaker based on goal differential. That means a win in either regulation or overtime over St. Louis (37-33-11) will be enough to secure the No. 4 seed.

A regulation loss could drop Nashville all the way to seventh.

"There's a lot on the table," goalie Pekka Rinne said. "We can still finish fourth."

Rinne made 44 saves Friday, improving to 10-2-1 with a 2.14 goals-against average in his last 13 starts.

"To me, he's our MVP without a doubt,'' Trotz said. "I would say he's probably the best goaltender in the National Hockey League. You have to talk about who's the most valuable player to his team, which is what the Hart Trophy's about. Pekka's got to be in the top three for me."

Patric Hornqvist had two goals and an assist to give him 13 points in his last 10 games. Sergei Kostitsyn also scored to extend his point streak to 11 games.

Center Mike Fisher has four goals and four assists during a six-game point streak.

The Predators may not have an easy time against the Blues after going 2-2-1 in the first five meetings of the season. Jaroslav Halak started all of those games for St. Louis, posting a 1.36 goals-against average with two shutouts.

Backup Ty Conklin is 3-0-1 with a 2.65 GAA in four career home starts against the Predators with three different teams.

Rinne is 5-2-0 with a 1.97 GAA in seven career starts at Scottrade Center. He's 1-2-1 with a 1.68 GAA against the Blues this season.

Cal O'Reilly, currently out with a broken leg, has four points in the season series to lead Nashville. Kostitsyn has none against St. Louis and Martin Erat has no points in two games, missing the other three meetings due to injury.

David Backes and Andy McDonald each have four points in the season series for St. Louis, 5-1-2 in its last eight games overall.

The Blues were very competitive in a 4-3 overtime loss at Chicago on Wednesday, blowing a two-goal lead before rallying to force the extra session.

"We wanted to come in here and play a solid game," Conklin said. "We know what their situation is. I don't think we're trying to knock them out more than anyone else would.''

Tagged: Blues, Predators, Ty Conklin, Pekka Rinne

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt