Predators-Blues Preview

The Associated Press

No visiting team in the Western Conference has played better in St. Louis this season than the Nashville Predators.

The Predators will try for a third consecutive road victory over the NHL-leading Blues on Tuesday night.

St. Louis (47-20-9) is a league-best 29-4-4 at the Scottrade Center this season, but it's been outscored 6-3 while losing both home meetings to Nashville. With one victory each, Los Angeles, Chicago and Vancouver are the only other teams from the West to win in St. Louis in 2011-12.

The Predators won the first four games this season between the Central Division foes before the Blues earned a 3-2 shootout victory at Nashville on Feb. 23.

"(St. Louis is) a good team,'' said Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne, 4-0-1 with a 1.33 goals-against average versus St. Louis this season. "It's one of those teams, we're going to battle to the end. We always seem to play well against this team.''

Rinne has stopped 48 of 50 shots while Nashville (44-24-8) has outscored Winnipeg and Chicago 9-2 to win its last two overall.

Mike Fisher, Matt Halischuk, Patric Hornqvist and Shea Weber each had a goal with an assist as the playoff-bound Predators matched their highest scoring game of the season with Sunday's 6-1 road win over the Blackhawks.

"The overall playoff picture probably doesn't really matter to me right now," coach Barry Trotz said. "The most important thing is we're going to focus on ourselves. We can't worry about anything else.''

The Predators showed off their depth while playing without leading-scorer Martin Erat (18 goals, 39 assists), who could miss a second straight game with an upper-body injury.

"It doesn't matter who we have in the lineup and how many offensive guys we have," Rinne said. "We have to be solid defensively and work hard and keep it simple and the offensive part of the game is going to come.

"We still have a lot of skill on the team and when we get our scoring chances, guys put the puck in the net.''

Fisher has six goals with five assists in his last 12 games while Hornqvist has three of each over his past five contests.

Teammate David Legwand has one assist in the last three games, but he's posted two goals and three assists versus St. Louis this season.

Blues netminder Brian Elliott has not faced the Predators since last March while with Colorado, but he is expected to start after posting his second straight shutout with a 20-save performance during Sunday's 4-0 win at Phoenix.

Tied for the NHL lead with eight shutouts, Elliott has gone 127:38 without allowing a goal. Elliott and teammate Jaroslav Halak have combined for a team-record 14 shutouts, and are the first tandem in league history to each have at least six in the same season.

"It's been this way all season,'' coach Ken Hitchcock said. "One gets hot, cools off and then the other one gets hot. Halak was going good about 2 1/2 weeks and now it's Brian. It's a great situation.''

Alex Pietrangelo had a goal with an assist and fellow defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk added three assists as the Blues avoided a third straight defeat Sunday to conclude a 3-2-2 trip.

Pietrangelo has two goals and 12 assists in his last 14 games, but he's been held scoreless versus Nashville this season.