Nashville tries to snap its four-game losing streak and improve to 6-0 this season against the Blues, losers of nine straight.
The Predators had their six-game home winning streak snapped Thursday with a 4-2 loss to the league-leading Detroit Red Wings. Mike Sillinger and Scott Hartnell scored first-period goals for Nashville, but Detroit broke the game open with a pair of scores in the final 20 minutes.
“We had crucial breakdowns against a good team and that is not going to work,” said goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who stopped 30 shots. “It’s hard to win when you are making mistakes. Sometimes you can get away with mistakes, but we’re struggling right now.”
Vokoun has been in net for all four games of the current losing skid, allowing 20 goals with a save percentage of .863. He has fared very well against St. Louis this season, though, allowing just five goals on 106 shots over four games.
Despite the recent slide, the Predators remain on solid footing for the postseason. Nashville’s 92 points are good for fourth place in the Western Conference with nine games remaining.
The Predators have had an easy time of it in the season series with the Blues, winning all five meetings by a 17-9 margin. Nashville has never defeated a single opponent more than five times in a season.
St. Louis outshot Columbus 30-20 on Friday night, but lost 4-2. The Blues have been outscored 39-15 during their nine-game skid.
Friday’s loss came one day after the Blues learned captain Dallas Drake will miss the rest of the season after breaking two ribs. Goalie Curtis Sanford and defenseman Barret Jackman have also suffered season-ending injuries this month.
“This is unbelievable,” said Keith Tkachuk, who scored one of the St. Louis goals against the Blue Jackets. “You don’t want to use excuses, but it’s a big part of it. We’re missing some NHL-caliber players.”
Jamal Mayers had the other score for the Blues, snapping a personal 21-game drought with his first goal since Dec. 31.