Nashville Predators (0-0-0) at St. Louis Blues (0-0-0)
|Date & Time||Thursday October 3, 2013, 8:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: St. Louis Blues -184 / Nashville Predators +167 --- Over/Under: 5
The Nashville Predators begin the season on the road as they travel to St. Louis to take on a Blues team with a Cup or bust mentality.
The Predators have been a team on the rise over the last few seasons but last year things seemed a little off for the Preds who underachieved and missed the playoffs altogether and finished an abysmal 14th in the Western Conference. As such, the Preds landed the fourth overall selection in the NHL draft where they took cornerstone defenseman Seth Jones from the Portland Winterhawks, who has the talent to step in right away to make a difference on the Nashville blueline. Jones joins a defensive unit that already includes Shea Weber and Roman Josi and with Pekka Rinne slated for a bounce back effort between the pipes the Predators could be a team to watch out for once again in the West. Heading on the road to face a Blues team who has a lot of buzz around them once again this year is a tough place to start but if they can dictate the pace of the game with a strong defensive game they should keep it close.
St. Louis has also been a team on the rise over the past few seasons but an opening round loss to the Kings has the Blues refocused this year in an attempt to push through to the next level and challenge for the Stanley Cup. St. Louis has a very deep roster up front but lacks the superstar factpr and with David Perron leaving for Edmonton it leaves another hole in the Blues offense that won’t be easy to replace. Defensively, St. Louis has one of the best in the game in Alex Pietrangelo and a goaltending trifecta of Brian Elliott, Jaroslav Halak, and Jake Allen making them one of the stingiest units in the game but I imagine one of those three will be on the move this season in exchange for a top six forward. Home openers are always tough to forecast as both teams will be out with full energy but in this one I am siding with the road team as I think Rinne is a better option than Halak and for what it’s worth I think these teams are closer than people think. This isn’t a game I’d recommend but will take the value with the Preds.