Blues-Predators Preview

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

Arena.

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

season.

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.”