Blues Gameday Preview: Nashville Predators – 12/12/22

Although the St. Louis Blues walked away from their overtime loss to the hobbled Colorado Avalanche with a point, all signs point to this team continuing their downward spiral. With the Avalanche missing a number of players, most notably star Nathan MacKinnon, the Blues still had a hard time containing Mikko Rantanen during his three-goal performance. After gaining a 2-1 lead late in the third period, the Blues’ defense relinquished two goals in 38 seconds of game time (19:51 in the third period, 0:29 in overtime) to squander away an extra point.

Jordan Binnington was fairly solid in stopping 28 of 31 shots while still searching for his 100th career win. He’s now 0-6-1 in his last seven starts, allowing an average of 4.77 goals per game (GAA) and a save percentage (SV%) of .840 over that span. Goals were scored by Vladimir Tarasenko (eight) and Brandon Saad (six). The Blues went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill while also recording a shorthanded goal (Saad). Tarasenko’s goal came on a power play (1-for-4).

St. Louis Blues' Gameday Robert Thomas, Jordan Kyrou, Justin Faulk and Jordan Binnington

With their 3-2 OT defeat, the Blues’ record now sits at 12-15-1 (25 points), sixth place in the Central Division, and currently well outside of the playoff hunt, going 2-7-1 in their last 10. Their next opponent, the Nashville Predators (12-11-2, 26 points) sit just ahead of the Blues in the standings but have won six of their last 10 (6-3-1). In their first meeting of the season on Oct. 27, the Predators won 6-2. The Blues narrowly lead the all-time series over the Predators (59-44-4-16, 138 points).

St. Louis Blues Projected Lineup

(The Blues held an optional morning skate. Exact lineups won’t be known until closer to pregame warm-ups.)

Forwards

Brayden Schenn – Ryan O’Reilly – Josh Leivo

Jordan Kyrou – Robert Thomas – Vladimir Tarasenko

Brandon Saad – Ivan Barbashev – Alexey Toropchenko

Nathan Walker – Noel Acciari – Tyler Pitlick

Vladimir Tarasenko St. Louis Blues
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Defense

Nick Leddy – Colton Parayko

Torey Krug – Justin Faulk

Niko Mikkola – Robert Bortuzzo

Goalie

Thomas Greiss

Toropchenko Returns to St. Louis

Forward Alexey Toropchenko has been recalled from his conditioning assignment with the Springfield Thunderbirds, the team’s American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate. He was reassigned for conditioning on Nov. 29. In 15 NHL games this season, he’s recorded just one point and had a minus-three rating. In five games with Springfield, the 23-year-old Russian scored three points (one goal, two assists). He’s expected to be in the lineup tonight.

In related news, forwards Logan Brown and Pavel Buchnevich were seen skating with the team this morning. Brown has been out since Nov. 8 with an upper-body injury. Prior to his injury, he recorded zero points in just five games. Buchnevich has been out of the lineup since Dec. 5. However, neither are ready to return to the lineup just yet.

Nashville Predators Projected Lineup

Forwards

Filip Forsberg – Mikael Granlund – Matt Duchene

Nino Niederreiter – Ryan Johansen – Colton Sissons

Yakov Trenin – Jusso Parssinen – Tanner Jeannot

Cole Smith – Cody Glass – Travis Jankowski

Defense

Roman Josi – Jordan Gross

Mattias Ekholm – Dante Fabbro

Kevin Gravel – Roland McKeown

Related: Four Takeaways From Blues’ 3-2 Loss to the Avalanche – 12/11/22


Latest News & Highlights


Goalie

Juuse Saros

Moving on From Tolvanen

In a surprising roster move, the Predators placed former top prospect Eeli Tolvanen on waivers on Dec. 11. He was their first-round pick in 2017 (30th overall). After scoring just two goals in 13 games this season, the 23-year-old forward was a healthy scratch for their last seven contests. In 135 games over parts of five seasons, he’s scored 51 points (25 goals, 26 assists). In 2021-22, he set career highs in games (75), assists (12), and points (23).

Eeli Tolvanen Nashville Predators
Eeli Tolvanen, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Earlier today, Dec. 12, Elliotte Friedman reported that the Seattle Kraken were awarded the waiver claim for Tolvanen. He’ll head to the northwest to help the Kraken continue their strong play near the top of the Pacific Division and Western Conference.

Players to Watch

St. Louis Blues: Vladimir Tarasenko

In 38 career games versus Nashville, Tarasenko has been nearly a point-per-game player with 16 goals and 21 assists. Over the Blues’ last six games, he’s been one of the team’s few consistent threats, logging six points over that span (three goals, three assists).

Nashville Predators: Roman Josi

Defenseman Roman Josi has been one of the league’s hottest players as of late. In his last 12 games, he’s scored 14 points (four goals, 10 assists). In their victory over the Blues in October, he scored three points (one goal, two assists). His four power-play goals is tied for the league lead. At 563 career points, he’s four points away from becoming the Predator’s all-time leading scorer (David Legwand – 566).

Where You Can Catch the Game

Nashville Predators @ St. Louis Blues – 7:00 PM CDT

Related: Blues Need to Rebuild Amidst Disastrous Season

The Blues and Predators take the ice tonight at 7:00 PM CDT. Fans can watch the game on Bally Sports Midwest and Bally Sports+ while the radio broadcast is always on 101 ESPN and the 101 ESPN app.


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