Heading into their regular-season finale, the Nashville
Predators are still unsure of their playoff position.
The St. Louis Blues can only wish they had those concerns.
Nashville looks to continue its dominance over the Blues in its
final tune-up for the postseason on Saturday night at Bridgestone
In the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons, the Predators
(46-29-6) can finish as high as fifth or as low as seventh in the
Western Conference. They are currently tied for sixth with Los
Angeles, two points behind Detroit. The Kings, however, have two
games left while Nashville and the Red Wings each have one.
A victory in this game would give the Predators 100 points for
the third time in franchise history. Nashville could’ve reached
that mark Wednesday at Phoenix, but allowed three third-period
goals in a 5-2 loss.
“We didn’t have enough detail in our game and it ended up
costing us,” defenseman Shea Weber said.
There was some good news to come out of the loss as captain
Jason Arnott returned after missing the last eight games with a
concussion. He had an assist for his 45th point to tie for fourth
on the team.
Leading goal-scorer Patric Hornqvist is expected to sit out this
game as a precautionary measure after he was hit by a shot from
Weber in the second period.
Hornqvist’s absence, though, won’t help a power play that is 1
for 29 in the last 10 games.
Pekka Rinne wasn’t at his best against the Coyotes, allowing
four goals on 29 shots, but is 9-3-1 with a 1.82 goals-against
average and four shutouts in his last 13 starts. He’s stopped 54 of
58 shots in two wins against the Blues during that span, and is
4-1-0 with a 2.22 GAA in five starts versus St. Louis this
Nashville is 26-6-3 against the Blues since the start of the
2005-06 season, and 13-1-3 at home.
St. Louis (40-32-9) was unable to match last year’s late run to
the postseason and will be home for the playoffs for the fourth
time in five seasons.
Poor play at Scottrade Center was a big reason for that
disappointment as the Blues finished 18-18-5 at home, among the
worst marks in the NHL. St. Louis rallied for a 6-3 victory over
Anaheim on Friday for its sixth straight home win in Keith
Tkachuk’s final game.
Tkachuk, who announced his retirement Wednesday, is not expected
to play this game. He had two assists Friday and finished his
19-year career with 538 goals and 1,065 points.
“It was a special moment as soon as I got on the ice in warmups
and it carried on all game,” said Tkachuk, who was honored in a
postgame ceremony. “The way it ended, you couldn’t have scripted it
better. It was incredible.”