Blues host Preds hoping to push win streak to 8

( – The St. Louis Blues seek to post their longest winning
streak in 12 years on Saturday night as they play host to the Nashville

The Blues took the opener of a five-game homestand 4-3 over the New Jersey
Devils on Thursday night, completing a home-and-home sweep to push their
overall winning streak to seven in a row.

Jake Allen came into the contest having posted back-to-back shutouts — 2-0
versus Anaheim on Oct. 30 and a 26-save effort in New Jersey on Tuesday — and
kept the Devils off the scoreboard until finally letting one in with 3:25 to

That snapped Allen’s shutout streak at a franchise rookie-record 184 minutes
and 38 seconds, though he ended up allowing three goals and making 24 saves.

“They really pushed us hard. We pushed hard back in the third,” Blues head
coach Ken Hitchcock said.

Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist each, with
Tarasenko lighting the lamp for a fourth game in a row and for the eight time
in his past six games. Alexander Steen and David Backes added power-play
markers for the hosts.

The Blues also won seven straight games last season, but have not won eight in
a row since a nine-game run from Oct. 15-Nov. 5, 2002.

Despite Allen’s recent success, Hitchcock will go back to starter Brian
Elliott tonight. That isn’t a terrible choice as Elliott is 5-2-0 with a 1.81
goals against average, .929 save percentage and two shutouts in seven prior
meetings, including six starts.

St. Louis has won six in a row and 10 of its last 11 versus Nashville, which
is wrapping a six-game road trip tonight. The Preds will go at least .500 on
the swing as Thursday’s win over Dallas pushed them to 3-2-0 during the trek.

Matt Cullen scored the game-winner with 6:13 to play in regulation for a 3-2
decision. Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg added power-play goals, while Mattias
Ekholm and Derek Roy had two assists each.

Forsberg has a goal in three straight games, with four tallies in total over
that span.

Pekka Rinne turned aside 33 shots in the win.

“He made some big saves,” said Preds coach Peter Laviolette. “They came out
charging and he made some real big saves.”

With Nashville idle until Tuesday following this contest, Laviolette may stick
without his workhorse in Rinne tonight. The netminder is 13-11-4 with a 2.09
GAA and .927 save percentage in 28 lifetime meetings with the Blues.