In their first game after the All-Star break, the Nashville Predators picked up right where they left off. The NHL’s top team, the Predators will try to continue their hot streak against an opponent they’ve dominated lately when they visit the surging St. Louis Blues on Saturday.
Nashville, which has a league-high 73 points, beat Chicago 3-1 on Friday night in the opener of a four-game road trip. The Predators (35-12-3) have won three straight games and nine of their last 10, including a 3-2 victory over St. Louis on Jan. 6.
Nashville has won all five meetings with St. Louis this season and 13 straight in all over the Blues, who haven’t beaten the Predators since a 4-1 victory on April 3, 2004. St. Louis hasn’t defeated Nashville at home since a 4-1 win on Dec. 6, 2003.
The Blues, though, have shown great improvement over the last five weeks. Since losing 11 straight from Nov. 25-Dec. 17, St. Louis has gone 13-2-2, which includes a 2-1 overtime victory over Detroit on Friday in the opener of a three-game homestand. They’ve now won four straight games for the first time since March 25-30, 2004, and seven of their last eight.
St. Louis is 13-4-4 since Andy Murray replaced the fired Mike Kitchen on Dec. 11.
“It’s been unbelievable,” goalie Manny Legace said. “It’s been a great run and we’ve just got to keep it going.”
The Blues (20-21-8) have also won three in a row at home, where they play 10 of their next 14 games.
All-Star Bill Guerin scored 1:09 into overtime to lift the Blues over the Red Wings on Friday. Legace made 28 saves and Ryan Johnson returned after missing 12 games with a separated shoulder to score St. Louis’ first goal.
“It’s not going to be a Picasso every night,” Guerin said. “We didn’t play great for 40 minutes, but we came back in the third and played real solid and just stuck with it.”
Guerin - who has 21 goals this season after scoring only 13 in 70 games with Dallas last year - has four goals in his last five games against the Predators.
Vernon Fiddler scored the winner for Nashville with 2:21 remaining and the Predators added an empty-net goal to beat the Blackhawks on Friday, completing an extended home-and-home series. Nashville beat Chicago 6-3 at home on Jan. 20 in its last game before the All-Star break.
“We know on the bench we have a chance to win every game in this league,” Fiddler said. “It’s just a matter of time before something happens.
“We were keeping it simple on the forecheck and I was just fortunate to get it in the net. It handcuffed (Chicago goalie Nikolai) Khabibulin a little bit and it was a good play by Raddy (Radulov).”
Rookie defenseman Kevin Klein scored his first NHL goal after being recalled from Milwaukee of the AHL earlier Friday. Klein took the place of Marek Zidlicky, who was placed on injured reserve with the flu.