By LOU KORAC
ST. LOUIS -- An NHL player, once entrenched into an organization, tends to have a daily routine as part of their gameday experience.
For Barret Jackman, he had one that took up 13 years of his life and one he was quite comfortable with.
But there are times when good things come to an end, and for Jackman, his time in St. Louis came to an end last spring when the Blues bowed out in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fourth straight season in either the first or second round, third in a row in the first round.
When Jackman signed with the Central Division rival Nashville Predators this past summer for two years and $4 million, he knew there would be a day he would have to go through a different routine his first visit to St. Louis.
That day has arrived, and Jackman will be wearing an opposing jersey for the first time at Scottrade Center when the Predators (15-10-6) face the Blues (18-10-4) at 7 p.m. (FS-MW, KMOX 1120-AM).
Jackman faced the Blues when they visited Nashville on Nov. 7 (a 4-0 Blues win) but this will be the place he called home since St. Louis drafted Jackman with the 17th pick in the 1999 NHL Draft.
"It's a little different coming down the ramp and through the parking garage and walking here and stuff and show up to the visitors room instead of the home dressing room," Jackman said. "It's a fun experience. I wasn't sure how fun it was going to be. I'm looking forward to tonight.
"You still have a hockey game to play. It's still a business. I've got a lot of fond memories in this building, but when it comes down to game time, I'm looking for the win as much as they are on the other side. ... I think it was good to have that first game in Nashville out of the way. It's kind of weird seeing that blue note on the other side. I'll have to remind myself not to pass the puck to them. A couple shifts, just kind of get into it early and kind of get into the routine and let the instincts take over."
Jackman, who groomed and mentored many in the Blues' locker room today, including Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo on the blue line and David Backes and Alexander Steen, among others, will need to take a moment and soak it all in when he comes out of the visiting team's tunnel.
"Great influence," Shattenkirk said. "I think we as a pair got to grow together and he was someone who allowed me to play my offensive style of game and I know I had a really rock-steady defenseman back there who could really take care and bail me out of some bad predicaments. I think more than anything, he really just taught me how to be a professional, how to take care of myself at the rink, off the ice, how to be a part of the community and make sure that you're being a positive influence to fans. He's someone who I will always reference as one of my mentors.
"I think this is going to be weird for him. A guy who was considered a long-time and almost career blue note and now this is his first time walking in and going into the other locker room. I think it's going to be a little strange for him. It'll probably take him a couple shifts to get over that, but once he gets hit or delivers a hit, I think he'll be right back into his old ways.
Along with the 13 seasons, Jackman won the Calder Trophy, the only such winner in Blues history. He ranks second to Bernie Federko (927) on the franchise’s all-time games played list (803), and he's the club’s all-time leader in games played at Scottrade Center (395).
Blues fans in attendance will give Jackman the proper respect he deserves for the years of service here.
"If they don't boo me, maybe I will get a little emotional," Jackman joked. "I don't know what to expect. I've never been through it before. I've been here for so long. It's going to be a weird feeling. I've just got to keep the emotions in check and just get through the game."
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The Blues will attempt for the seventh time in succession to win consecutive games. Over the past six victories, the next game has followed with a loss, whether it be regulation, overtime or shootout.
The Blues enter the game as the NHL's No. 1 penalty killing unit at 88 percent. They've killed 23 straight power plays dating to Nov. 25 at Pittsburgh, a stretch of 10 games.
The Blues have also gone four straight games with a power play goal (5-for-9) and are tied for ninth in the NHL at 20.2 percent with their opponent tonight.
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Patrik Berglund (shoulder) skated for a second straight day with the team. Coach Ken Hitchcock said Tuesday that the Blues expect to have Berglund available sometime after Jan. 1.
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The Blues' probable lineup:
Alexander Steen-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko
Magnus Paajarvi-David Backes-Troy Brouwer
Robby Fabbri-Jori Lehtera-Dmitrij Jaskin
Scottie Upshall-Kyle Brodziak-Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo
Petteri Lindbohm-Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson-Colton Parayko
Jake Allen will start in goal. Brian Elliott will be the backup.
Healthy scratches include Scott Gomez and Robert Bortuzzo. Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Patrik Berglund (shoulder) and Steve Ott (hamstring) are on injured reserve.
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The Predators' probable lineup:
Filip Forsberg-Calle Jarnkrok-James Neal
Viktor Arvidsson-Mike Ribeiro-Craig Smith
Cody Hodgson-Colton Sissons-Colin Wilson
Eric Nystrom-Paul Gaustad-Austin Watson
Roman Josi-Shea Weber
Barret Jackman-Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm-Ryan Ellis
Pekka Rinne will start in goal. Carter Hutton will be the backup.
Expected scratches include Miikka Salomaki and Anthony Bitetto. Mike Fisher (lower body) and Gabriel Bourque (upper body) are out with injuries.