NHL Hockey - Nashville Predators (-175, 5½) at St. Louis Blues 8:00 PM EST
The Predators lead the Central Division with 81 points, which also happens to be the highest total in the NHL's Western Conference. The Blues are the best of a sorry lot in the same division being outscored by almost forty goals on the season. With attendance off by better then twenty percent this season, St. Louis faces a team that has beaten them 14 consecutive times.
Nashville has cast a dolorous gloom over the Blues, outscoring them by 47-24 in the last double baker's dozen meetings. Paul Kariya who joined the Preds at the beginning of last season has been a dominating figure in these match-ups with six goals and 11 assists during the 14-game win streak. He has 53 points in 46 career games versus the Blues. Winger Steve Sullivan who has seven points this season against St. Louis expressed his feeling this way about why they continue to whip them "I don't think it's the Blues. It's our style of play."
The Predators play of late has been uneven with 3-4 record in last seven games, enabling Detroit to climb within a point of them. A Valentine's Day demolition of San Jose 5-0 has restored confidence and has the players understanding what they need to do. "The past few games, we didn't play the way we wanted to, and we slacked off a little bit," said Predators forward J.P. Dumont, who scored his 12th goal of the season Wednesday. "Other teams caught us, and that game was good for not just for everybody, but just for ourselves to show how good we are. If we don't play a solid game, it's not going to be easy. It was proved tonight ... we wanted more, and we just kept playing."
As bad as St. Louis record actually is, they have been a pretty good NHL team with 16-10 ATS record since December 19. Sharper focus and a more consorted team effort have allowed them to overcome numerous offensive shortcomings. The Blues are 28th in goals scored, 29th in power play efficiency and dead last in shots on goal.
The one beacon of light has been RW Billy Guerin who leads the team in scoring and points. His play of late has been especially impressive and rumors continue to circulate he is on the trading block before the February 27 deadline and the Blues want high quality picks and useful players in return.
Nashville long string of victories has them as -175 road favorite, with a total of 5.5 goals at sportsbook.com.
St. Louis is a faltering 8-23 ATS in home games after a division game over the last two seasons. The Preds are of distinction after a win by two or more goals with 33-12 ATS mark.