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National Hockey League
Preview
Nashville at St. Louis
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 29, 2015
Where: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri

The Nashville Predators have ascended to the top of the Central after posting a significantly better record against division rivals this season. The Predators look to bolster their lead in the Central and post their fourth win in five meetings with St. Louis when they open a three-game road trip against the Blues on Thursday. Craig Smith scored 2:46 into overtime as Nashville skated to a 4-3 triumph over Colorado on Tuesday to improve to 13-3-2 against Central Division opponents - a significant improvement from its 12-13-4 mark last season.

Mike Ribeiro recorded his third three-point performance of the season versus the Avalanche and also hit that plateau in the Predators' 4-3 victory over St. Louis on Dec. 4. The Blues, who trail first-place Nashville by five points, return from the All-Star break hoping to extend a torrid stretch that has seen them record points in eight straight contests (7-0-1). Alex Steen has scored seven goals and set up 11 others during his 10-game point streak but has just two assists in four contests versus Nashville this season.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Tennessee (Nashville), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

ABOUT THE PREDATORS (31-10-5): All-Star Filip Forsberg scored his team-leading 16th goal early in the third period on Tuesday and is tied with Ottawa's Mike Hoffman atop the league in tallies by a rookie. The 20-year-old Swede and potential Calder Trophy candidate also leads rookies in assists (25), points (41) and plus-minus rating (plus-25). Forsberg has torched the Blues, scoring three goals and setting up four others in four games, while defenseman Roman Josi has collected a goal and five assists in that stretch.

ABOUT THE BLUES (29-13-4): Martin Brodeur officially will announce his retirement from the NHL on Thursday morning but will remain with the organization in a management capacity and drop the ceremonial puck prior to the game. A news conference is slated for Scottrade Center at 11:30 a.m. (ET) for the 42-year-old Brodeur, who is the league's all-time leader in wins (691) and shutouts (125) and has a plethora of other records under his belt. Brodeur signed a one-year deal with St. Louis on Dec. 2 and posted his final blanking - and victory - against Patrick Roy-coached Colorado 27 days later.

OVERTIME

1. St. Louis All-Star RW Vladimir Tarasenko has collected three goals and two assists in four meetings with Nashville this season.

2. The Predators have scored five power-play goals in as many games after going 3-for-16 in their previous six.

3. St. Louis' Marcel Goc is expected to make his debut with his new team after being acquired from Pittsburgh for fellow C Maxim Lapierre on Tuesday.

PREDICTION: Blues 3, Predators 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div
Nashville 31-10-2-3 W1 19-2-0-1 12-8-2-2 2-0-0-1 29-10-2-2 13-3-1-1
St. Louis 29-13-2-2 W2 18-4-1-1 11-9-1-1 3-1-0-0 26-12-2-2 9-6-0-0
Last Meeting
Nashville St. Louis
Date Away Home Shots Saves PP Shots Saves PP
12/30/14 STL 2 NAS 3 47 26 0-4 28 44 0-4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Total Points Player  
Nashville G. Bourque 2
St. Louis D. Backes 2
Goals Player  
Nashville S. Weber 2
St. Louis C. Butler 1
Assists Player  
Nashville O. Jokinen 2
St. Louis D. Backes 2
Saves Player  
Nashville P. Rinne 26
St. Louis B. Elliott 44
Season
Total Points Player  
Nashville M. Ribeiro 44
St. Louis V. Tarasenko 53
Goals Player  
Nashville F. Forsberg 18
St. Louis V. Tarasenko 28
Assists Player  
Nashville M. Ribeiro 34
St. Louis K. Shattenkirk 34
Saves Player  
Nashville P. Rinne 1058
St. Louis B. Elliott 591
Quickchart Matchup
Nashville Off vs  St. Louis Def
2.98 GF
2.37 GA
32.3 Shots
27.1 Shots
24 PP
29 PK
St. Louis Off vs  Nashville Def
3.13 GF
2.26 GA
31.3 Shots
28.6 Shots
40 PP
28 PK