Central Division Breakdown: Nashville Predators

This column will be the first out of four columns breaking down Central Division match ups for this upcoming season for the Blues.

Our St Louis Blues open the 2011-2012 season against the Nashville Predators on October 8th. In my eyes this Nashville team is probably one of the most boring offensive teams in the league. But I am also not saying this is not a match up to watch this year. Last year our Blues posted a 4 win, 1 loss, and 1 overtime loss record against Nashville. The Predators play a real tight defensive game led in part by Shea Weber and goalie Pekka Rinne. Every game I watched last year was a real gritty and hard hitting game. The Blues were made to grind out wins with timely goals and smart defensive plays. The best game the Blues had last year against Nashville was a 3-0 shut out and wasn’t the only time they achieved a shutout either. Their worst lost came as a 4-3 loss in overtime when they gave up a lead they had all game. Only 13 goals were scored last year against Nashville for the Blues and the Blues only allowed 6. This goal total will be the lowest the Blues score and allow out of the 4 division opponents.

Breaking down the Predators this year will be much of the same as last year as they didn’t do much to their roster this offseason. The big story was the team and Shea Weber went to arbitration and Weber was awarded with a 1 year contract worth 7.5 million dollars. While no big splashes were made this summer, they still do have Ryan Ellis sitting in the minors. Ryan who plays a similar game to Alex Pietrangelo had another season of AHL work last year while making a few spot appearances in the NHL. The Preds bought out one of the original players to the expansion team J.P Dumont this year and also bought out Brett Lebda.

The Predators did make the playoffs last year and finally won a playoff game and round last season beating the Anaheim Ducks in 6 games. They were finally bounced by a team that would eventually go on to the Stanley Cup finals the Vancouver Canucks. The Predators did give the Canucks a run for their money but finally ran out of gas losing in 6 games themselves.

The Predators are poised for another playoff run but the Blues had their number last year. Each game was gritty and exciting to watch because of the physicality of the two teams. This season the Blues have loaded up on forward depth. That depth is known for their grit and their tenacity. One of the forwards aquired was a former captain of the Predators in Jason Arnott. Arnott has always said he hated playing the Blues because of how hard working and physical they are. This season series should offer nothing less then that. A hard grinding and physical game.

Be sure to check out next Fridays blog as I breakdown the match up against Chicago and as always be sure to follow us @BleedinBlueFS on twitter. Be sure to follow our writing staff as well, lead writer, @RandallRitchey, and staff writers, @EvanHicksKC, @EvanP_Hockey, and @CarpeDonnelly Any questions? Send them in to [email protected]

Tags: Blues Central Division NHL Predators

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