Blues at Predators Picks
By Jonathan Willis
The Nashville Predators are making a run to finish atop the Western Conference. Nashville has come alive in recent weeks and looks ready to challenge Vegas for the top spot in the conference over the last quarter of the season. Home ice would be massive for Nashville, who showed that they have a big advantage in the Music City on its way to the Stanley Cup Finals last year.
Their opponents, the St. Louis Blues, are fighting for their playoff lives. St. Louis is currently in line for the eighth and final playoff spot, but two teams are just one point behind them. Winning on the road in Nashville is tough, and even getting a point would be big for the Blues.
St. Louis Blues at Nashville Predators
Date and Time: Sunday, February 25, 2018, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Bridgestone Arena,Nashville, Tennessee
NHL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Blues at Predators TV Coverage: NBC
The Blues need to right the ship in a hurry. St. Louis has lost four in a row, and although it was a tough stretch of opponents, getting just one point over that span hurt.
St. Louis has been a decent team away from home this season. The Blues are 15-10-4 on the road and 19-10 ATS. Under is 17-12 in their road games this season and 36-24-1 overall.
Nashville has bounced back from two bad home losses to Calgary and Detroit to win three in a row. They hammered San Jose 7-1 in their last game and are one of the NHL’s best home teams. Nashville is 21-7-3 on home ice this season.
Injuries to Watch
The Predators are healthy at just the right time. Nashville has no one listed on the injury report coming into this game.
St. Louis hasn’t been so lucky. Defenseman Joel Edmundson is likely out for the rest of the year with a broken forearm and fellow defenseman Robert Bortuzzo was just placed on injured reserve on Thursday. Left wing Sammy Blais just suffered a concussion and will probably be held out of this game as a precaution, but left wing Vladimir Sobotka will likely be ready to return.
These two teams met in Nashville two weeks ago, and St. Louis missed a great opportunity to grab two points. The Blues dominated the first two periods of the game. Jay Bouwmeester put St. Louis ahead 1-0 at the end of the first period, and the Blues scored twice in the first 10 minutes of the second period in order to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Vladimir Tarasenko had two assists and the Blues outshot the Predators 16-3 in the second frame.
St. Louis continued to lead 3-0 until there were 11 minutes left in the game. Then, it all fell appart. Calle Jarnkrok cut the lead to two, and then Austin Watson took over. He scored a shorthanded goal with a little over five minutes left and found the net again almost a minute later to knot it at three. The Blues were left reeling following that and fell in overtime after Filip Forsberg scored on a penalty shot.
Pekka Rinne continues to be one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. Rinne is seeing a lot more shots than usual this year, but he continues to turn them away at a better rate than he has for most of his career. On the season, he is 31-9-4, posting one of the best records in the NHL.
Rinne is 3-0 against St. Louis this season with a .958 save percentage. Although he allowed three two weeks ago against the Blues, he allowed just one goal in his first two games against St. Louis. He’ll again be in net for Nashville on Sunday.
Blues at Predators Free Picks
Nashville will have an additional day of rest with both Friday and Saturday off, and the Predators will not have to travel as their last game was at home. That gives them a pretty big advantage in this one. The Predators will probably be a -140 or -150 favorite, and it’s worth betting them at that price.
Blues at Predators Pick: Take Nashville on the moneyline
Blues at Predators Score Prediction: Predators 3 – Blues 1