Preview: Predators at Blues

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[December 17, 2015]  The Nashville Predators take a brief break from a home-heavy portion of their schedule when they visit the Central Division-rival St. Louis Blues on Thursday. Nashville is coming off a 1-1-1 homestand that concluded with Tuesday's 2-1 overtime loss to Calgary.

Following their meeting with the Blues, the Predators have a four-game stretch at Bridgestone Arena before visiting St. Louis on Dec. 29. The Blues also are in the midst of an abundant string of games in their own building. They went 2-3-0 on a five-game homestand before edging the Jets in Winnipeg on Tuesday and begin a two-game set at Scottrade Arena with their showdown with Nashville. St. Louis won its first meeting with the Predators this season, posting a 4-0 road victory on Nov. 7 as Jake Allen made 45 saves while Alex Steen recorded a goal and an assist.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Tennessee (Nashville), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

ABOUT THE PREDATORS (15-10-6): After spending the first 13 seasons of his career with the Blues, Barret Jackman returns to St. Louis for the first time as an opponent. The 34-year-old defenseman, who was drafted 17th overall in 1999, won the Calder Trophy four years later and collected 28 goals and 153 assists in 803 games with the Blues. "The closer it gets, the more you think about it, the more people have been calling," Jackman recently told the Calgary Herald. "You've just got to get out there, get the routine down, touch the puck for the first time and get rid of those nerves."

ABOUT THE BLUES (18-10-4): St. Louis is first overall on the penalty kill (88 percent) and is 21-for-21 over its last nine contests. Captain David Backes has registered three goals and three assists during his five-game point streak and is one assist away from passing Red Berenson (240) for sole possession of eighth place on the franchise list. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk also is riding a five-game point streak during which he has collected a goal and five assists and has been kept off the scoresheet only twice in his last 16 contests.

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1. The Predators have lost three of their last four overall contests, scoring fewer than three goals in each defeat.

2. St. Louis is 3-4-1 this month, netting one goal in four of the five setbacks and two in the other.

3. Nashville LW Colin Wilson, who has missed four games with a lower-body injury, participated in a full practice Wednesday and could be in the lineup.

PREDICTION: Blues 3, Predators 1

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