Although Alexander Steen continues to score at a blistering
pace, nothing else has been that easy for the St. Louis Blues since
their hot start.
They might not be catching a break despite the Nashville
Predators missing their two-time Vezina Trophy finalist.
The Blues will try to avoid their fourth loss in five games
Saturday night when they visit the Predators, who seek their second
straight win after losing Pekka Rinne for at least a month.
Perhaps a bit rusty in its first game in a week, St. Louis
(5-1-2) rallied back from a two-goal deficit to force overtime
before losing 3-2 to Vancouver on Friday. Since outscoring
opponents 19-7 while winning their first four games, the Blues have
been outscored 14-9 during this 1-1-2 stretch.
”It took a while for us to wake up,” said center David Backes,
who has six goals and three assists. “It’s not acceptable. We
needed two points.”
While St. Louis may have cooled off, Steen certainly isn’t
showing any signs of slowing down. He’s tied for second in the
league with eight goals after scoring his fourth in three games
Steen had a goal and an assist to lead the Blues past the
visiting Predators 4-2 in the season opener Oct. 3.
Nashville’s Carter Hutton performed well in relief when Rinne
struggled in that meeting, allowing only a Steen power-play tally
on 22 shots in his 50-plus minutes.
The Predators (6-4-1) aren’t allowing anything on the power play
these days, having killed off 22 straight penalties over their last
seven games to match the franchise’s second-longest streak.
With Rinne out at least four weeks following arthroscopic
surgery on his hip, Hutton stopped 34 of 36 shots Thursday in a 3-2
overtime win over Winnipeg that was the Predators’ fifth victory in
Hutton is 2-0-0 with a 1.37 goals-against average in three
appearances, but both wins have come against the offensively
challenged Jets. In his only career start against the Blues, he
gave up three goals on 28 shots in a 3-1 loss while with Chicago on
”I am just taking it day-by-day, shot-by-shot,
period-by-period, kind of slow things down,” Hutton said. ”You
look at the big picture, it can be a bit overwhelming, especially
I’ve only played a couple of games.”
After allowing three goals on 21 shots against the Canucks on
Friday, St. Louis’ Jaroslav Halak figures to give way to Brian
Elliott in the second of back-to-back games. Elliott has allowed
five goals on 42 shots in two games, but is 3-1-0 with two shutouts
and a 1.33 GAA in his last four meetings with Nashville.
Whoever gets the start will be particularly interested in
keeping the Predators off the board early since they’re 5-0-1 when
scoring first. Nashville, however, is tied for 25th with 2.0 goals
Patric Hornqvist has scored all of his team-high four goals
within the last seven games. He also has five scores and nine
assists in 21 career games against the Blues.
St. Louis continues to be without forward Maxim Lapierre, who
was suspended five games for an Oct. 15 hit on San Jose defenseman
The Blues have won six of seven meetings, including the last
three in Nashville.