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Preview: Blues at Predators (4/10)

Location: Bridgestone Arena

Game Time: 7:00 pm Central

TV: FSN

Radio: 104.5 The Zone (WGFX-FM)

Records:
Nashville: 46-29-6 (98)
St. Louis: 40-32-9 (89)

Season Series:
11/12/09 – NSH 3 – STL 1
11/27/09 – STL 3 – NSH 1
12/29/09 – NSH 4 – STL 3
3/21/10 – NSH 3 – STL 2
4/1/10 – STL 2 NSH 3

Dominance: With 34 wins over the Blues, the Predators have more wins over St. Louis than any other franchise. The record doesn’t tell the whole story, however. Prior to the lockout, the Predators had an 8-19-3-2 record against the Blues, including a 3-10-1-2 road record. After the lockout, however, the roles reversed…and then some. The Predators won the first 14 games against the Blues following the lockout and have held a 26-6-3 record. The November 27 loss marked the first regulation home loss to the Blues since 2003-04. Prior to the lockout, the Predators had a 5-9-2-0 record against the Blues at home…turning it around to a purely dominant 13-1-3.

So Long, Tkachuk: Keith Tkachuk will not appear on Saturday night, having played the last game of his NHL career on Friday night in St. Louis. Tkachuk’s final game was a dandy, registering two assists to pick up his first multi-point game since January 16 and picking up the first star in his final appearance. Tkachuk ends his Hall of Fame-caliber career with  538 goals, 527 assists, 1,065 points and 2,219 penalty minutes.

Quest for 100: With a win on Saturday, the Predators will eclipse the 100 point mark on the season for only the third time in franchise history. The last time was 2006-07, when the team registered 110 points.

Quest for 50: Unless JP Dumont or Jason Arnott (both at 45 points) cap off their seasons with franchise record-tying performances, Martin Erat is the only remaining Predator with a chance at a 50-point season. Patric Hornqvist (51) and Steve Sullivan (50) have already reached the mark. Erat just needs 1 point in the final 2 games.

Goal Scoring: Martin Erat (21) and Patric Hornqvist (30) are the only two players on the roster with 20 goals on the season. The Predators have had 3 or more in every season since the lockout. Also, with just 101 home goals this season, the Predators actually have fewer goals at home than they did during the inaugural season.

Power Play Back to Baseline: While the Predators head into Saturday night with a baffling 2-for-27 success rate on the power play since March 18, the overall season average is on par with most of the Preds’ past seasons. Despite having a stretch of 8 consecutive games without a power play goal, the overall season rate is 16.6%. The recent struggles did drop the team to 24th overall in the league, but it is surprisingly the highest power play conversion rate for the team since 2006-07. Even more interesting, the team’s 18.8% home rate is actually the third highest in franchise history.

Penalty Kill Has Holes: The Predators have a 77% penalty kill rate, the third lowest in the league. It is a remarkable shift from a PK unit that had spent the previous four seasons in the league’s top 10. It is also by far the lowest number in franchise history – the previous record (and only previous time below 82%) was 78.9% during the inaugural 1998-99 season.

Masters of Close Quarters: The Predators go into the season finale second in the league with 27 wins in 1-goal games. They also hold the league lead with 14 wins in 2-goal games. The team record of 41-19-6 in games decided by 2 goals or less is by far the best in the league.

Quick Notes: Patric Hornqvist will not play tonight after becoming the latest victim of a Shea Weber slapshot on Wednesday night. He is expected back for the playoffs. Per Tom Callahan, Cal O’Reilly will also be scratched, which means Wade Belak will most likely be in the lineup. The Predators actually have a 22-16-2 record with Belak in the lineup…Again, congratulations to Wisconsin player/Predators prospect/Brentwood, Tennessee-raised Blake Geoffrion for winning the Hobey Baker Memorial Award and good luck tonight in the National Championship game…For real-time tweets during the game, be sure to follow us at @cellblock303 and, to join in on the conversation, be sure to tweet along with us by following @PredFans.

And finally…History Will Be Made…