By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- Newest Blue Marcel Goc has been in this position before.
When the Blues and Central Division rival Nashville Predators face each other on Thursday, it will be the 31-year-old center's fifth NHL team. But the shock of being traded never wears off.
Goc, who was traded to the Blues from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for center Maxim Lapierre on Tuesday, will play when the Blues host the Predators.
Goc will play with Steve Ott and Ryan Reaves on the Blues' fourth line.
"I was a little shocked; it came a little surprising, but the more I start to think about it, this was really good," Goc said. "It got more and more exciting and I'm happy to be here and looking forward to tonight.
"It was always really tough to play against (the Blues). They're a really tight-checking team. If you get chances, you usually have to earn them or do a couple good plays in a row. That's what made them tough to beat."
The easiest transition for Goc and one that made the trade easier was that he was going from one contending team in Pittsburgh to another in St. Louis.
"They have great guys that can make that transition done," Goc said of his newest teammates. He's never been a teammate of anyone on the Blues roster in the past. If you have a switch, you want to go to a team that's up there as a competitor.
"... I just knew guys from playing against them," Goc added. "Steve was the one I know most. When I came in the League with San Jose, he was in Dallas. I saw him every other day."
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said there shouldn't be much difficulty for Goc to transition into a new system.
"I think you've got to decide how much information he already has from the system the other team played," Hitchcock said. "We're lucky because Pittsburgh uses the same terminology, the same system of plays. So there's not going to be a big adjustment. And then it's just getting used to his linemates.
We're not going to over-play Marcel. We're going to just weed him in. The biggest change is when we get into penalty killing and see how he does it because that's probably the biggest difference. Pittsburgh kills a little bit different than we do. ... He'll be a good add for our group."
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After announcing his retirement Thursday morning, Martin Brodeur will drop the ceremonial first puck tonight prior to the Blues (29-13-4) and Predators (31-10-5). Puck drop is 7 p.m. on FS-MW and KMOX 1120-AM.
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The Blues' probable lineup:
Alexander Steen-David Backes-T.J. Oshie
Jaden Schwartz-Jori Lehtera-Vladimir Tarasenko
Patrik Berglund-Paul Stastny-Dmitrij Jaskin
Steve Ott-Marcel Goc-Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Carl Gunnarsson-Kevin Shattenkirk
Barret Jackman-Ian Cole
Brian Elliott will get the start in goal. Jake Allen will be the backup.
Healthy scratches include Joakim Lindstrom and Chris Butler. Chris Porter (ankle) had his cast removed and is walking around but still remains out indefinitely.
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The Predators' probable lineup:
Filip Forsberg-Mike Ribeiro-Craig Smith
Colin Wilson-Mike Fisher-James Neal
Matt Cullen-Calle Jarnkrok-Gabriel Bourque
Eric Nystrom-Paul Gaustad-Olli Jokinen
Roman Josi-Shea Weber
Mattias Ekholm-Seth Jones
Anton Volchenkov-Victor Bartley
Carter Hutton will get the start in goal. Marek Mazanec will be the backup.
Forward Taylor Beck is a healthy scratch. Pekka Rinne (knee) and Ryan Ellis (lower body) are out indefinitely.