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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Tuesday, December 29th (All times eastern)

Nashville Predators (22-14-3) at St. Louis Blues (17-16-5), 8 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators will try to get back on the right track when they visit the St. Louis Blues tonight in a Central Division battle at Scottrade Center.

The Predators had won four straight and six of seven before losing their last three outings. The two most recent setbacks came in a home-and-home series against Chicago, which has opened an eight-point lead over Nashville for the division lead.

Nashville dropped a 4-1 home decision Saturday against the Blackhawks and were edged 5-4 in regulation the following night in Chicago. The home-and-home set was the final scheduled meeting between the divisional rivals this year. Chicago won the season series by taking four of the six matchups.

The Preds held a 2-1 lead heading into the third period of Sunday's game, but Chicago scored three unanswered goals to grab a 4-2 edge. Nashville would tie the game at 4-4, but Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal for the Blackhawks with 43.4 seconds left in regulation.

Cody Franson had a goal and an assist for the Predators, who lost for the first time this season when leading after two periods (13-1-0). Dan Hamhuis, Marcel Goc and Martin Erat each had a goal in defeat, while Dan Ellis allowed five goals on 29 shots.

"A lot of credit to the guys on our team. We had all the reason to start doubting ourselves after they scored two quick ones," Hamhuis said. "We were resilient, we came back and scored a couple goals, and it was good for us."

Sunday's contest began a three-game road trip for the Predators, who are 10-7-2 as the visiting club this season. Nashville will complete the swing Thursday in Columbus.

The Blues, meanwhile, come into tonight off back-to-back losses and were downed Sunday night by visiting Buffalo. Tim Connolly and Mike Grier each notched a pair of scores as Buffalo used a three-goal third period to get past St. Louis, 5-3, at Scottrade Center.

Alex Steen scored twice and Eric Brewer once for the Blues, who had won three straight before losing their last two tilts. Ty Conklin suffered the loss and was tagged for all five goals on 24 shots.

Blues winger Paul Kariya is expected to miss tonight's game after getting elbowed in the head by Buffalo's Patrick Kaleta on Sunday. Kariya, who has eight goals and 19 points this year, is considered to be day-to-day with what the team is calling an upper-body injury.

St. Louis has lost two straight and six of its last seven as the host and is playing the second segment of a four-game homestand tonight. The Blues are just 6-12-2 at their home rink this season.

Nashville and the Blues have split two meetings so far this year with each team posting a 3-1 victory on the road. The Predators have taken three of five meetings, but St. Louis still has five victories in the last eight matchups. Nashville has won two in a row and four of its last six in the Gateway City.

12/29 10:52:55 ET

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