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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:56 am 
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It might come as news to the NBC Sports Network studio crew that spent part of Wednesday night's post-game show panning Pekka Rinne's effort this season, but the Nashville Predators' goalie isn't the reason they're off to a 4-5-3 start.

Rinne's save percentage of .922 is 15th in the league, which isn't exactly Carey Price territory but sure beats February of last season, when he was 37th among 43 qualified goalies in save percentage. What's more, Rinne was in vintage form Tuesday night, kicking out 33 shots in a 3-1 win over Ottawa.

That included one of the season's best saves anywhere, his stop on Bobby Ryan's wrister six minutes into the game that appeared headed for the net's open half until Rinne kicked it out with his left pad.

"Between he and Carey, they've got to be among the best goaltenders in the league," said defenseman P.K. Subban, Price's teammate in Montreal until an offseason trade landed him in Nashville. "When he's on, he's on, and he's been on all season."

The Predators will ask Rinne to be on again Thursday night when they host the St. Louis Blues in game three of a four-game homestand. It's the first meeting between the Central Division rivals, who are both in chase mode behind the Chicago Blackhawks.

St. Louis is at a scheduling disadvantage in this one, as it played Wednesday night and fell 2-1 in overtime to Chicago in a game that reeked of a playoff classic instead of an early November contest. The Blues (7-4-3) scored with 2:11 left in regulation to force the extra period, but were denied the extra point 25 seconds into overtime on Artemi Panarin's wrister as a power play ended.

An inability to score has hampered St. Louis in its last eight games. It's 3-4-1 in that span, a record which one might consider flattering since it's tallied just 13 times.

"We've got to find ways to score," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "If we can keep getting to the net and causing more traffic, we're going to score more goals."

Pietrangelo took advantage of bodies in front of Chicago goalie Corey Crawford on the tying goal, as Jori Lehtera screened Crawford well enough for him to not get a bead on the shot. It caromed off Crawford and trickled into the net.

Otherwise, it was another night of flail to no avail for the Blues. Vladimir Tarasenko epitomized that, as he failed to elevate the puck on a Grade A chance near the end of a third-period power play and was robbed of a game-tying marker.

As for Nashville, it's also having trouble scoring goals, as it only has 31 in 12 games. But it did pot three Tuesday night against Ottawa's Craig Anderson, beating him with its first two shots of the second period.

"We had a lot of chances," defenseman Roman Josi said. "We played a really good game for three periods and got rewarded."

The Predators could see a familiar face in the other net. Former backup Carter Hutton might get the start in this one for St. Louis, as Jake Allen saved 28 shots in the loss to Chicago.
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Blues • This is the second set of back-to-back games for the Blues in a week and one of three in a crowded November. The Blues are 2-0 this season in the second game of back-to-backs. The Blues went 4-1 against Nashville last season, taking two of three in Tennessee. The two wins were by shutout, and so was the one loss. Alex Pietrangelo had a team-high five points against the Predators on one goal and four assists.

Predators • Nashville is 2-2-3 in its past seven games, losing two shootouts and an overtime game. They’ve struggled on the road but are 3-1-1 at home. They’re power play is converting at 26.7 percent, the fourth-best mark in the league. … D P.K. Subban (3 goals, 5 assists) and F Filip Forsberg (0-8) lead the team in scoring with 8 points. F Viktor Arvidsson has a team-high four goals.

Injuries • Blues — D Robert Bortuzzo (lower body), D Joel Edmundson (upper body) are out. Predators – C Mike Fisher (upper body) and D Anthony Bitetto (upper body) are day to day. F Miikka Salomaki (upper body) is out.
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Matchup

The Predators blanked the Blues 5-0 in their most recent meeting (Feb. 27 in Nashville) but the Blues have won five of the last six in the series overall. St. Louis has left Nashville with victories in eight of their last 11 trips, including shutouts in two of the last three. After facing Chicago last night, the Blues will enter into the tail end of their third set of back-to-back games thus far. They are perfect in that scenario to this point, beating Minnesota on Oct. 13 and Colorado on Nov. 6. The Blues are looking to avoid a third straight loss on the road. Last season, their longest road losing streak was four games, though they managed points in the final two games of that set. They haven't lost three straight in regulation on the road since Dec. 23, 2014 to Jan. 2, 2015.

What to Watch

Look for this game to come down to even-strength play. Over their last eight meetings, the Blues and Predators have combined to go six for 54 (11.1%) with the man advantage. Over the past three seasons, both teams have been solid at even strength as the Blues share seventh overall with a plus-40 even strength goal differential in that span, while the Predators come in at 12th with a plus-25 mark.

Milestones

David Perron - 8 shy of 200 career assists
Jay Bouwmeester - 4 shy of 300 career assists
Alexander Steen - 1 shy of 200 career goals / 7 shy of 300 career assists / 9 shy of 500 career points
Ryan Reaves - 2 shy of 600 career PIM
Vladimir Tarasenko - 6 shy of 100 career PIM
Paul Stastny - 10 shy of 200 career goals
Colton Parayko - 8 shy of 100 career games
Jori Lehtera - 6 shy of 100 career PIM

Quick Hits

Jake Allen is 4-1-0 with a 2.52 GAA and a .920 SV% (1 SO) in his career vs. Nashville
Blues goaltender Carter Hutton spent the past three seasons in Nashville, posting a 33-23-12 record in 75 games with the Predators
Over their last nine games at Bridgestone Arena, the Blues have killed 28 of 29 Predators power play attempts

This day in history:
1973 Blues defeat Montreal 5-0 becoming first '67 expansion team to reach 200 victories.
1989 Brian Benning traded to Kings, but still makes appearance for Blue Note Club after being notified of the trade.
1991 Brett Hull named NHL Player of the Week after scoring 8 goals during that week.
2009 David Perron recorded his career hat trick in 6-1 win over Canucks.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 11:07 am 
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Don't worry Rinne- there's no one like the Blues to make you look like a Vezina winner.

Snark aside, I wonder if we'll see a Hutton/Rinne matchup tonight. That would be kind of cool. And score some damn goals, for goodness sake.

2 points, please. :letsgoblues:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:22 pm 
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According to stltoday.com, Fabbri is a healthy scratch, and Yak is playing.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 6:26 pm 
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Tough love from Ken. Making an example out of another young player citing lack of "tenacity." Can't wait to see this turd waddle into the sunset.

Just win anyway, guys.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:09 pm 
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FABBRI lacks "tenacity"?? WTF is Hitchcock smoking?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:00 pm 
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To be 100% fair, referring to Fabbri's scratch, the exact quote is, "It's all connected to tenacity."

Regardless, still a shot at a guy who played pretty damn hard in the playoffs and had the Game 7 winning assist against the reviled Chicago Blackhawks. He's owed some leeway, 20 years young or not.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:11 pm 
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So Pietrangelo makes a lazy clear attempt - lacks tenacity
Gunnarson tonight makes a lazy clear attempt - lacks tenacity

Will they be benched?? I already know the answer, but fatman doesn't seem to believe veterans over 23 can be sent messages.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:23 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 10:29 pm 
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^Yup.

And another great postgame quote from the head coach: "I think after awhile, you start living on one goal, you're not going to win many games." Oh, no shit?

This is after he had the "tenacity" comment post morning skate today and added, "Goals and assists, I don't look at."

So between this morning and tonight we went from "tenacity" mattering more than goals to one goal isn't gonna cut it.

SERENITY NOW!!!

Also, that 6 on 4 power play @ the end was a disgrace.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:34 pm 
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Toasted Oates wrote:
Also, that 6 on 4 power play @ the end was a disgrace.


And that's what the Blues get for bringing in Mike Yeo who was the genius with the chalkboard drawing that power play up at the end.

What's frustrating, about 1 in 5 power plays the Blues actually skate, work below the goal line, collapse the pk unit, and get good chances. The rest of the time it's all out high with little to no movement in the middle looking for a shot from out high. Well, if no one is moving in front or the middle and no one is working to collapse the PK unit, there aren't going to be good shots from out high. It's like the Blues coaching staff has decided the Blues power play must score goals from the blueline or the top of the circles or some shit. Disgusting. Especially after the Avs game when every goal, but one was scored between the circles, at or below the faceoff dot with one goal from inside a circle just below the dot. None of them were scored from the tops of the circles or the damn blue line. I don't get it. And seemingly our wondrous coaching staff went away from working down low and in the middle against two of the worst PK units in the league.

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