After suffering a 3-1 defeat to the Edmonton Oilers (4-3-0) on Oct. 26, the St. Louis Blues (3-2-0) are now on a two-game skid. In a game where they put up a season-high 38 shots, they were only able to muster one power-play goal by Ryan O’Reilly against goaltender Stuart Skinner. While they remain a perfect 11-for-11 on the penalty kill, the Blues haven’t scored a 5-on-5 goal since they played the Seattle Kraken on Oct. 19, with that goal coming in the first period.
The Blues will take a short trip to the “Music City” to take on the Nashville Predators (2-4-1). Both teams enter the game on a multi-game losing streak. The Predators last played on Saturday, Oct. 22, losing to the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1. Since returning stateside from their two games in Prague, CZ, they’re winless (0-4-1) in five games. In 2021-22, the Blues were 3-0-1 in four games against the Predators.
St. Louis Blues Projected Lineup
|Ivan Barbashev||Ryan O’Reilly||Jordan Kyrou|
|Brayden Schenn||Robert Thomas||Vladimir Tarasenko|
|Tyler Pitlick||Logan Brown||Jake Neighbours|
|Alexey Toropchenko||Noel Acciari||Nathan Walker|
|Nick Leddy||Colton Parayko|
|Torey Krug||Justin Faulk|
|Niko Mikkola||Robert Bortuzzo|
|Thomas Greiss||Jordan Binnington|
Nashville Predators Projected Lineup
|Matt Duchene||Ryan Johansen||Filip Forsberg|
|Mikael Granlund||Cody Glass||Nino Niederreiter|
|Yakov Trenin||Cole Sissons||Tanner Jeannot|
|Cole Smith||Michael McCarron||Eeli Tolvanen|
|Roman Josi||Dante Fabbro|
|Mattias Ekholm||William Carrier|
|Ryan McDonagh||Jeremy Lauzon|
|Juuse Saros||Kevin Lankinen|
Quick Look at the Predators
The Predators haven’t won a game, in regulation or overtime, since they defeated the San Jose Sharks in the season opening Global Series in Prague. Losers of five straight, they’ve done very little well offensively or defensively. Nashville has given up the most goals in the league within the final three minutes of regulation.
Outside of extending Filip Forsberg after a career year in 2021-22, their biggest acquisitions of the offseason were defenseman Ryan McDonagh from the Tampa Bay Lightning and forward Nino Niederreiter via free agency. To his credit, Niederreiter is playing well, leading the team with four goals through seven games. Goalie Juuse Saros has looked more pedestrian this season compared to last, sporting a 1-3-0 record with a 3.04 goals-against average (GAA) and a .894 save percentage (SV%).
Players to Watch
St. Louis Blues: Jordan Kyrou
To say the Blues need Jordan Kyrou to get going is an understatement. Through five games, he has just one goal and zero assists while seeing an average of 19:13 per night, an increase of almost 3 minutes from 2021-22. His shooting percentage of 6.3 percent is concerning for a player the Blues were counting on to be one of their points leaders coming into this season.
“I think he’s working hard, he’s skating well, he’s doing a lot of good things,” Berube said. “I think over-handling it sometimes. I’d like to see him just shoot it or make a play quicker with it. But his work ethic is really good right now and he’s got the puck a lot on his tape. It’ll come. He’s just got to stay with it.”Jeremy Rutherford (from ‘Blues’ Jordan Kyrou ‘fighting it’ so far in 2022-23. What’s behind his slow start,’ The Athletic, 10-27-22)
With fellow forwards Pavel Buchnevich and Brandon Saad expected to miss tonight’s game as well, the Blues really need Kyrou to take more chances with the puck in 5-on-5 and the power play in an effort to kick start their stagnant offense.
Nashville Predators: Nino Niederreiter
Right now, Niederreiter is the Predators’ greatest scoring threat this season (four goals, one assist). As a team, they’re a lowly 2-for-29 on the power play, but Niederreiter contributed to both (one power-play goal, one power-play assist). The Blues have yet to allow a power-play goal this season, trying a franchise record for consecutive penalties killed to begin a season (11-for-11). The Predators will be leaning on Niederreiter tonight to help them get at least a point.
Where You Can Catch the Game
St. Louis Blues @ Nashville Predators – 7:00 PM CST
Tonight’s game between these Central Division rivals can be seen exclusively on ESPN+ and Hulu. Fans wishing to catch the radio broadcast can do so on 101 ESPN, the 101 ESPN app, as well as the Blues app.
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Marcus Ashpaugh is a husband, father, coach, and a huge sports fan. He has had a few of his own websites in the past where he published pieces about both the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Blues.