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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 9th (All times Eastern)
St. Louis Blues (21-14-2) at Nashville Predators (15-17-8), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Blues try to strengthen their playoff chances on Tuesday night with a season-high fifth straight victory as they visit the fading Nashville Predators.
The Blues have followed up three straight regulation losses with their second four-game winning streak of the season. The first one came on Jan. 24-31 and the club last won five in a row from March 3-11, 2012.
St. Louis' current run has the club seventh overall in the Western Conference as they jumped over Detroit by a point with Sunday's 1-0 road victory over the Red Wings.
Brian Elliott capped an excellent week with a 28-save shutout, his first of the season and 19th of his career. He is 3-0-0 with a 1.45 goals against average and .952 save percentage over his last three appearances, his first at the NHL level since March 5.
Elliott's current run is coming at a good time since Jaroslav Halak is out with a groin injury and the netminder was named the NHL's second star for the week on Monday.
"We've played a good past couple of games here and we didn't see any movement in the standings because other teams were doing their jobs too," said Elliott. "Getting a win against (the Red Wings) bumps us up and we just have to keep building on that. We don't have that much time left."
Chris Porter scored the only goal of the game on assists from Barret Jackman and Patrik Berglund in the second period for the Blues, who won the opener of a four-game road trip. They were also without forward Andy McDonald due to illness.
The Predators are running out of time in their chase of the eighth and final playoff spot currently held by the Red Wings. They are five points off the pace thanks to losses in three straight and six of their past seven (1-4-2).
Nashville is in danger of matching its longest losing streak of the season following Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in the back end of a home-and-home set. The Preds dropped a 1-0 decision to the visiting Blackhawks the previous day.
Nick Spaling, Shea Weber and David Legwand each lit the lamp in Chicago, while Pekka Rinne made 35 saves.
"We got beat to the puck on the one goal," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "It was just individual stuff. That's on our (defense). Our 'D' has got to have that puck."
Getting some healthy bodies back might help as well. Forward Gabriel Bourque missed his fourth in a row due to an upper body injury, while Paul Gaustad sat out his second straight with an upper body issue and Mike Fisher missed the game in Chicago with a hand ailment.
Nashville opens a four-game homestand looking to build off a 6-1 victory in St. Louis on Feb. 5. The Preds snapped a four-game slide to the Blues with that win, but have lost two straight -- both in a shootout -- and four of their last six at home in this series.
04/09 11:04:31 ET
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