The slumping Nashville Predators will seek their first victory on North American soil this season when they host the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
The Predators are 0-4-1 since Oct. 7-8, when they won back-to-back games against the San Jose Sharks in Prague as part of the NHL’s Global Series. They scored just nine goals over the losing streak.
“Our focus is continuing to get better,” Nashville coach John Hynes said. “As I said, you have to take the situations for what they are. We haven’t won here in five games. I think there’s different reasons for that.”
The Predators haven’t played since last Saturday, when they lost to the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1. They have used the scheduling break to regroup ahead of their game against the Blues at Bridgestone Arena.
“We have an opportunity now, an opportunity to reset, get away from it for a day, come back and have some good practices and refocus,” Hynes said. “That’s what our focus has to be, what we can control moving forward.”
The Predators saw some positive signs in the Philadelphia loss.
“We really pointed to the identity markers that we want,” Hynes said. “To win the territory game, to win the shot clock, to win the possession game, to win the scoring chance game, to spend less time in our defensive zone and win the penalty battle. Those are all things that if you do consistently and regularly, you’re going to give yourself the best chance to win.”
While the Predators will be well-rested, the Blues are coming off their second straight loss, 3-1 to the Edmonton Oilers at home Wednesday night.
The Blues have scored just three goals in their last three games, two on the power play and the other into an empty net.
“There’s looks, there’s chances, we’re getting chances, but sometimes you go through spells like this and you’ve to just stick with it,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “You’ve got to simplify a little more maybe and I’ll say again, get on the inside. That’s where you’re going to get your goals a lot of times.”
Jordan Binnington started in goal against the Oilers, so the Blues are likely to come back with Thomas Greiss for this game. Greiss stopped 39 of 42 shots in his one start this season, a 4-0 loss at Winnipeg.
Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki remains sidelined after taking a heavy hit into the boards against the Flyers and leaving the ice on a stretcher.
The Blues will be missing key winger Pavel Buchnevich, who is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Winger Brandon Saad (upper-body injury) has also been sidelined on a day-to-day basis.
“We miss ’em for sure,” Berube said. “They’re both really good players… but, hey, that’s the way it is in this league. You’re going to have injuries and you have to move on. People have to step up and do the job.”
The Blues signed free-agent forward Tyler Pitlick on Tuesday and gave him his first look on Wednesday on the third line. He has been with the team on a professional tryout.
–Field Level Media