The St. Louis Blues opened the season with a pair of wins in Sweden, but they’ve experienced nothing but inconsistency since returning to the United States more than a month ago.
The Blues, however, have a prime opportunity to record back-to-back victories for the second time Thursday night as they try to continue their recent success against the visiting Nashville Predators.
St. Louis posted a 4-3 win over two-time defending Western Conference champion Detroit on Oct. 2 and a 5-3 victory against the Red Wings the next day in Stockholm. The Blues have lost 10 of 14 since but have shown signs of improvement over their past four games.
After suffering three straight defeats after regulation, St. Louis snapped its season-high five-game slide Tuesday night at home, 6-1 over Vancouver.
St. Louis scored twice in seven power-play chances after going 4 for 47 with the man advantage in its previous 13 contests.
“We generated a lot of chances in the first. It’s something we’ve failed to do in the past,” said forward Andy McDonald(notes), who had a goal and two assists. “We’ve been struggling to score goals, so it was nice to be able to come out and jump on them a little bit and get everybody rolling.”
The former Nashville goaltender’s emergence last season for the Blues was a big reason why they ended a five-year playoff drought and beat out the Predators for one of the West’s final berths.
Mason was 2-0-2 with a 1.18 GAA against his former club as St. Louis went 4-0-2 in the season series. The Blues are 5-1-2 at home against Nashville since Feb. 16, 2007.
They’ll face a Predators team that’s searching for its sixth win in nine games following a 2-5-1 start. Nashville (7-8-1) enters the finale of a four-game road trip after Tuesday night’s deflating 4-3 loss to San Jose.
Patric Hornqvist’s(notes) goal with 10:31 remaining gave the Predators a 3-2 lead, but the Sharks scored twice over the final 6:34 against backup Dan Ellis(notes), getting the winning goal with a minute left.
“We deserved a point and all we need is a save from the goalie and we didn’t get it,” Ellis said. “We’re playing the best team in the league, and we played pretty well for the most part.”
B.J. Crombeen(notes) and Keith Tkachuk(notes) each scored three goals last season against the Predators, while Brad Boyes(notes), who had a goal and three assists Tuesday, had a team-best six points (two goals, four assists).