Behind new coach Andy Murray, the St. Louis Blues have put together their first three-game winning streak in almost a year. To extend that run, he needs to stop an 11-game slide against the Central Division’s top team.
Murray will try for the third time to beat the Nashville Predators when the Blues visit Gaylord Entertainment Center on Tuesday.
The Blues haven’t had a four-game winning streak since March 25-30, 2004, and they haven’t beaten the Predators since April 3, 2004. Since then, St. Louis is 0-8-3 against Nashville and has been outscored 33-17 during that stretch.
Less than a week after taking over for the fired Mike Kitchen on Dec. 11, Murray led St. Louis (10-19-6) into a home-and-home series with the Predators. St. Louis fell 3-2 on Dec. 16 as Nashville’s Paul Kariya scored the only goal of the shootout.
The next night in St. Louis, Kimmo Timonen’s power-play goal with 1:49 left in overtime sent the Blues to a 2-1 loss.
Since then, St. Louis has turned it around and recorded its biggest win of the season with a 3-2 overtime victory over Eastern Conference-leading Buffalo on Saturday. Bill Guerin scored the tying goal with 10:32 to play in regulation, and added the game-winner 1:35 into the extra period.
That goal gave the Blues a third straight win for the first time since a three-game run from Feb. 2-8.
“It’s a good feeling, I’ll tell you that,” said Guerin, who leads St. Louis with 15 goals. “It’s something we’re starting to get used to around here. We’re working hard everyday, buying into the system. We’ve been rewarded lately and we just want to continue to do that.”
Guerin has needed just 34 games to surpass his goal total from last season, when he scored 13 in 70 games with Dallas. He didn’t play against the Predators on Dec. 16, but has two goals and an assist in two games against them this season.
Nashville (24-9-3) bounced back from a rout in its previous game with its most decisive shutout win ever on Saturday. Jason Arnott, J.P. Dumont and David Legwand each scored twice in a 7-0 rout of Los Angeles.
“I was not concerned with how we were going to respond after the Buffalo game,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said of his team, which lost 7-2 to the Sabres on Thursday. “I’ve always said we have a lot of good character and good leadership in the room. We usually respond well after a poor performance.”
It also was the first time in franchise history the Predators had three two-goal scorers in one game.
Alexander Radulov had a career-high three assists, matching his total from his first 22 games. Radulov, though, has 10 goals, tying him with Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal and Colorado’s Wojtek Wolski for fourth in the league among rookies.
Though Nashville has dominated St. Louis recently, the Predators’ Dan Hamhuis said his team needs to play better against the Blues.
“Last year we certainly had their number and this year too, we’re finding ways to beat them,” he said. “I wouldn’t say this year we’ve been the better team in all three games.”