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Predators-Blues Preview

AP - Sports

Before the St. Louis Blues can look forward to their second trip to Detroit in five days, they must first focus on continuing their dominance at home.

The Blues seek their seventh straight victory at the Scottrade Center on Friday night when they look to defeat the Nashville Predators for the first time in three tries this season.

St. Louis (21-11-4) will travel back to face Detroit on Saturday after falling 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday. The Blues let a two-goal lead slip away, falling behind when the Red Wings scored twice in a 56-second span in the third period.

"They dialed it up in the third and forced us into making mistakes," coach Ken Hitchcock said.

The Blues dropped into third place in the Central Division behind Chicago and the Red Wings, while Brian Elliott fell to 14-4-0 - still with a Western Conference-best 1.63 goals-against average - after making 29 saves.

"You're up on the road, you've just got to finish, playing a clear, concise game," Elliott said. "We didn't do what we needed to do in the third period and that cost us."

It will be interesting to see how Hitchcock uses his goalies in this set of games on back-to-back nights. He started Jaroslav Halak in Monday's 5-3 home win over Dallas.

Elliott is 8-1-0 with a 1.33 GAA at home this season, and 1-1-0 with a 2.03 GAA in two career starts against Nashville. Halak has been in goal for both meetings with the Predators this season, posting an 0-1-1 mark and a 1.94 GAA after going 6-1-1 with a 1.71 GAA in his eight previous starts against them.

The Blues are 14-3-1 at home, where they last won seven straight within a single season Dec. 28, 2001-Jan. 19, 2002.

"They're a big team and they play really well at home so I think we're getting our confidence up, it's going to be big to have a big one against them," Predators center Colin Wilson said.

Nashville (19-14-4) continues to play without top defenseman Shea Weber, the team captain and points leader with 29. Weber is out indefinitely with a concussion.

The Predators won for the second time in five games with Wednesday's 2-1 shootout victory against Minnesota. Pekka Rinne made 34 saves and stopped all three attempts in the shootout after conceding 12 goals over his previous three starts.

"Everyone is playing really well, and that's what we need," defenseman Ryan Suter said. "It all starts with Pekka."

Rinne has started both 2011-12 meetings with St. Louis, posting a 1.44 GAA. He is 10-5-2 with a 1.95 GAA against the Blues while backup Anders Lindback has won his lone career start versus St. Louis.

The Predators remain one of the league's top power-play teams at 21.1 percent despite going 0 for 8 in their last two games. They are 2 for 4 against St. Louis this season, although Weber assisted on one of the goals - one of his 13 points among Nashville's 27 goals with the man advantage.

The Blues, meanwhile, continue to own one of the NHL's worst power plays at 13.1 percent, although the unit has shown improvement by going 4 for 6 over the last two games.

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