St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators Pick & Prediction FEBRUARY 17th 2024

Nashville Predators coach Andrew Brunette expressed exasperation after his team absorbed a 9-2 beating from the Dallas Stars Thursday night.

“It’s disappointing,” Brunette said. “It can only be addressed so many times. Either we’re not taking it seriously enough, or we’re not understanding. So, the response and the mindset is really disappointing.”

Now the Predators must regroup as they open a five-game road trip with a visit to the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center Saturday night.

“Our season is on the line,” Predators captain Roman Josi said after the loss to the Stars. “We need to figure it out. Saturday is going to be a huge game, especially after this one. Obviously, you never want to feel like that. You’ve got to bottle it up and find a way to motivate yourself.”

Nashville has lost five of its last six games (1-4-1) to fall behind the Blues in the Western Conference wild-card playoff race. The Predators allowed 29 goals during that downturn.

Goaltender Juuse Saros has an .884 save percentage and a 4.70 goals-against average in his last three starts.

The Predators are catching the Blues coming off a big 6-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers to open their four-game homestand Thursday. The Blues rebounded from a dispirited 4-1 loss at Toronto with a strong effort against the explosive Oilers, who had won 18 of their previous 20 games.

St. Louis has won eight of its last 10 games while outscoring opponents 36-23. They are looking to climb eight games over .500 for the first time this season.

“We’re coming along,” Blues center Robert Thomas said. “I think we’re trending in the right direction. We’re coming together as a team and playing the right way. If you look at the last four games, everyone’s chipping in, different lines stepping up, carrying the weight every night. That’s what you need coming down the stretch and playing these big games, you need everyone involved and it’s nice to see it coming together.”

Blues winger Jake Neighbours has continued his breakout during his second full NHL season. He has scored four goals and earned three assists in his last four games.

“His confidence has come up a lot and he’s making great plays,” Thomas said of Neighbours. “He’s getting greasy around the net and that’s where he makes his living. I’m happy to see him growing into the player that we all know he can be.”

With defensemen Justin Faulk and Scott Perunovich on the injured list, Torey Krug has shouldered more responsibility. He has a goal and six assists in his last three games.

Thomas continues to drive play on the top line. He has three goals and 13 assists in his past 10 games. Linemate Jordan Kyrou has five goals in his last six games.

The Predators defeated the Blues 8-3 on Nov. 24 in St. Louis, with Filip Forsberg scoring two goals and assisting on a third. Goaltender Kevin Lankinen stopped 36 of 39 shots to earn the victory while Blues goaltenders Joel Hofer (four goals allowed on 15 shots) and Jordan Binnington (four goals on 20 shots) both struggled.

–Field Level Media

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