Nashville Predators (10-3-2) at St. Louis Blues (10-4-1)
|Date & Time||Thursday November 13, 2014, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: St. Louis Blues -155 / Nashville Predators +141 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Predators head into St. Louis on Thursday night looking to expand on their Central division lead while the Blues look for their ninth win in 10 tries and can leapfrog the Preds with a victory in regulation.
The Nashville Predators have been one of the league's biggest surprises so far this season as a team that fell off the map a year ago has returned to lime light in the Western Conference and they currently lead the ultra competitive Central division. The Preds made some adjustments in the offseason but the biggest perhaps was a change of culture by bringing in a new coach and the addition of forward James Neal to bring an identity to a team's offense that had been starving for one for years. Nashville looks a lot more like a complete team that can challenge for a Stanley Cup this season perhaps more than any other and with the blue line and goaltending being rock solid I think Nashville is one or two pieces away from becoming a serious threat to win the Cup. This is a huge opportunity for them to make a statement against a Blues team who is right behind them in the standings.
The Blues were picked as a preseason favourite to win the Western Conference once again this season, something that has accompanied them for the last couple of seasons yet they don't even have a Western Conference finals appearance to talk about let alone being considered a Cup favourite. There is no question that St. Louis is a very good team with a rock solid blue line, a lot of depth up front, and a young goaltender capable of big things but to me they have a bit of work to do yet before they will be considered among the giants of the West that includes LA, Chicago, Anaheim, and Vancouver. The Blues let Ryan Miller walk at season's end after that experiment ended on a sour note for all of those involved but Allen is a great option for the Blues and between him and Brian Elliott goaltending is not a huge concern for St. Louis but getting all of their players healthy certainly is. When the Blues are at full strength this shapes up to be a great matchup and the line this rich would be justified but with the Blues still getting guys back and the Preds playing like they are I just don't see any value in taking St. Louis here. I like the Preds to keep it close and playing them to overtime looks like a great play.