for this game

Preds host Blues in key Central battle

Dec 30, 2014 - 4:01 PM ( - The St. Louis Blues were able to halt their longest losing streak of the season the last time out, and they hope to follow it up with a victory in a key divisional matchup.

The Blues try to forge a tie for second place in the Central Division on Tuesday when they visit the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville enters this showdown three points behind Chicago for the top spot and two points ahead of St. Louis.

St. Louis snapped a four-game skid with Monday's 3-0 victory over the visiting Colorado Avalanche. Martin Brodeur posted his first shutout as a member of the Blues with a 16-save effort and extended his all-time NHL record. Brodeur, who spent his first 21 seasons with the New Jersey Devils, has tallied the most shutouts in NHL history with 125.

"I think he's gotten more comfortable here," Butler said of Brodeur. "I think tonight was an awesome performance by him."

Dmitrij Jaskin, Chris Butler and Vladimir Tarasenko all scored for the Blues, who hadn't lost more than two in a row this season before the recent 0-3-1 slide.

Although Brodeur turned in one of his best efforts in a Blues sweater last night, St. Louis would love to welcome No. 1 goaltender Brian Elliott back to the crease on Tuesday.

Elliott has been sidelined since Nov. 25 with a lower-body injury, but he returned to practice on Sunday, when head coach Ken Hitchcock said he hoped the goalie would be "ready here in the next couple of days."

While there's a chance Elliott could return tonight, if he is unable to go then rookie Jake Allen will likely get the call.

The Blues lost forward Chris Porter to a leg injury in the second period of Monday's game and he did not return. He is questionable for tonight.

St. Louis, which is beginning a four-game road trip tonight, is 9-7-2 as the away team this season.

Nashville lost for the second time in three games on Monday when it dropped a 5-4 shootout decision in Chicago despite holding a 3-0 lead over the Blackhawks at one point.

After coming back from a three-goal deficit in the second period, the Blackhawks needed another tying goal with less than two minutes left in regulation. Bryan Bickell delivered the marker with the goalie pulled and 1:13 left on the clock to make it a 4-4 game.

Jonathan Toews scored the lone goal of the shootout to deliver the victory for the Blackhawks.

James Neal scored a pair of goals for Nashville. Roman Josi and Craig Smith potted the other two Predators goals and Pekka Rinne allowed four goals on 42 shots.

"I thought we had a great start, and I thought we played strong throughout," said Neal. "We ran into a little penalty trouble, and they've got a great power play."

Nashville hopes to bounce back tonight on home ice, where it boasts a 13-2-1 record this season.

The Predators entered 2013-14 having lost six straight in the series against the Blues, but Nashville has taken two of three from St. Louis this season.

The clubs last met on Dec. 4 in Music City when the Preds downed the Blues, 4-3, in regulation. Rinne made 29 saves for the win, while Mike Ribeiro recorded a goal and two assists. The victory also snapped St. Louis' six-game winning streak in Nashville.