The Central Division remains every bit as cruel and competitive as expected so far in 2015-16, and NBCSN audiences get a chance to see how deep this group really is on Tuesday night.
You can see the game on TV and/or via NBC Sports Live Extra online.
Blues above, for now
The second-ranked Blues hold 48 standings points after playing 38 games, a position that’s more tenuous when you weigh certain factors.
While they’ve generally been on a roll (6-2-0 in their last eight games), the Stars blanked them 3-0 on Sunday, so this could be a slightly angry group.
Nashville is all the way down in fifth place in the Central, yet tonight’s game could really make for a jogjam.
The Predators have 42 standings points – six fewer than the Blues – but hold two games in hand over St. Louis. They’ve won three of four contests, including an impressive 5-3 showing against the Rangers from last night. Nashville could make the battle for the Central’s second and third seeds pretty crowded with a win.
Peter Laviolette’s bunch will be forced to scratch and claw this month, as they play three straight in the road starting tonight and seven of eight on the road. They only see three home dates through the month of January.
Desire and fatigue
In short, the Predators come into this one a bit tired but also with plenty of hunger.
“I think when we’re a team that brings emotion to the game, we’re a different team,” Mike Ribeiro told NHL.com. “We play with more energy to our game, and we’re just faster at getting pucks, we’re forechecking, we’re creating turnovers. It’s just hard to bring that every night, so you have to find a way to motivate yourself.”
There’s a strong chance that the most motivated team will win this one tonight.