Skip to main content

Predators look to stay ‘engaged’ in battle vs. Blues

Apr 16, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators players celebrate after a goal by center Mikael Granlund (64) during the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators will continue their quest for the postseason on Sunday when they host the St. Louis Blues.

The Predators (43-27-5, 91 points) are battling Dallas for fourth place in the Central Division and the Stars and Vegas Golden Knights for a Western Conference wild-card berth.

The Stars also have 91 points, while the Golden Knights remained at 87 points after dropping a 4-0 decision to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.

“This game, the bigger everything gets, the better it is,” Predators forward Mikael Granlund said. “Every little thing matters. There’s going to be emotional wins and emotional losses, but that’s what you play for. It’s the best time of the year. We might not win every single game but we’ve got to find a way to get to the playoffs, and then it’s a new game out there.”

The Blues (45-20-10, 100 points) clinched their playoff berth Saturday with a 6-5 overtime victory over Minnesota. St. Louis is in second place in the Central, one point ahead of the Wild.

“This league’s not easy,” Blues forward Brayden Schenn said. “There’s a lot of teams that are very capable of making the playoffs. All you’ve got to do is get in and you have a chance. The first goal accomplished all year was making the playoffs.

“I think for the next seven games you want to keep on building, point in the right way, even though you already have clinched, you want keep on building your game so you’re ready to make the playoffs.”

Nashville held off the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 Saturday at home in Bridgestone Arena to pull out of a 1-2-1 downturn. The Predators fell 4-0 to Edmonton in their previous game.

“We were engaged in the game the way that we needed to be,” Nashville coach John Hynes said. “We were ready to start the game on time. I think it was more to the identity that we want to be able to play with from a readiness standpoint, and from a style of game standpoint. Coming off that Edmonton game, I think this was a step in the right direction.”

This will be the fourth contest in a five-game homestand for the Predators at Bridgestone Arena, where they are 24-13-0 this season.

The Predators won their first game against the Blues this season 4-3 in overtime on Nov. 11. St. Louis responded with a 5-3 victory on Jan. 17 and 7-4 triumph on March 12.

Blues forwards Robert Thomas (two goals, four assists) and Jordan Kyrou (two goals, three assists) have excelled in those three games.

For the Predators, forwards Matt Duchene (four goals, three assists) and Ryan Johansen (two goals and two assists) have been productive in the series.

Since Ville Husso started Saturday, the Blues likely will turn to Jordan Binnington in goal for this game.

Juuse Saros started in net on Saturday for the Predators — his 10th appearance in 11 games — so there is a chance David Rittich could go Sunday.

Blues defenseman Nick Leddy is questionable for this game after exiting Saturday’s game with a facial laceration.

–Field Level Media