The Nashville Predators travel to St. Louis to take on the Blues in the second divisional matchup in as many days. The Preds defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, and won the first half of the opening weekend road trip.
Now, the Preds have another challenge in the Blues. Over the summer, the Blues added former Predators captain Jason Arnott and veteran forward Jamie Langenbrunner. The Blues hope that veteran experience will mix in well with the young talent they have.
St. Louis will be without David Perron and B.J. Crombeen due to injury, while the Predators will still be without Mike Fisher and Francis Bouillon.
In a lot of ways, the Predators will be facing the same challenge against St. Louis that they faced on Friday night against the Blue Jackets. It's the season opener for the Blues, and the crowd will be a huge factor in the game. Nashville will have to survive the initial push by the Blues, and then strike first to take the crowd out of the game.
My player to watch for the Blues is Chris Stewart. He has 136 points in his NHL career so far, including a 64 point season in 2009-2010 with the Colorado Avalanche. He's only 23 years old and has the potential to have a monster year for the Blues. The Predators will have to restrict his time and space with the puck. He's got lots of skill so he will probably see a lot of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter.
For Nashville, my player to watch is Kevin Klein. He played a strong game in Columbus on Friday night, and was very defensively sound. Klein will have to continue that strong play this year, and his play will be key in tonight's game against St. Louis.
St. Louis is going to come out strong. The Predators are going to have to match the intensity of the Blues and convert offensively when they have the opportunity to do so. It will be a tightly contested game, but I think the Blues will prevail and come out with a 4-3 overtime victory.