Predators slip past Blues
Win 2-1 in St. Louis
Originally published December 30, 2011 at 10:02 p.m., updated December 31, 2011 at 12:22 a.m.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Nashville Predators found a way to get past the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.
Martin Erat scored in the fifth round of the shootout to give the Predators a 2-1 victory over the Blues, ending St. Louis’ six-game home winning streak.
Erat sent a shot high over the glove hand of Jaroslav Halak and Pekka Rinne kept the Blues scoreless on all five attempts to win for the second game in a row in the shootout.
“In the shootout, you’ve got lots of time to see what the goalie does and he dropped the glove and I just tried to go high glove,” said Erat, who helped the Predators improve to 3-0 against the Blues this season.
“I’ve been in this league a long time and I know how the goalies play.
“It’s nice watching the videos before (games) but it’s better to go with your instincts and you see what’s going on on the ice, you see how the goalie plays and I just try to go with my instincts.”
Matt Halischuk scored for the Predators. Rinne stopped 35 shots.
“Not only are we getting great goaltending from (Rinne) but we are better defensively,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “They are learning under fire against a very good team and the last couple of days we’ve had to clamp down and we’ve done a very good job.”
The Blues got a goal from T.J. Oshie. Halak stopped 33 shots.
“It’s frustrating for the whole team, especially for someone like me who takes pride in scoring shootouts,” said Oshie, as the Blues have not won a shootout since March 7, 2011. “To see the effort that Jaro put forth for us tonight and to not get him that extra point ... it’s unacceptable I think.”
The Blues and Predators have played a number of one-goal games, and Friday was no exception.
“That’s the way the script goes, but we need to find ways,” Blues captain David Backes said. “We’re doing all the work. We’ve just got to reap the benefits from it.”
A Blues giveaway enabled Halischuk to get his eighth of the season when he poked a loose puck in the crease past Halak just 2:16 into the game for a 1-0 Nashville lead.
The Predators thought they made it 2-0 at 8:54 of the first, but David Legwand’s redirection was waved off for a kicking motion. They went to a video review and it was confirmed that Legwand kicked puck into the net.
The Blues picked up the pace and tied the game 1-1 on Oshie’s 12th of the season, after picking up Backes’ power move to the goal and lifting a shot through traffic over Rinne with 6:20 left in the first.
“After the first five minutes, we started to play really well,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “But we’re not able to extend leads or extend the game. We’re leaving it out there.
“Since I’ve been here, this is the third time we’ve had a chance to win the shootout outright with the last shooter and not being able to do it is frustrating for the players and frustrating for Jaroslav.”
Each team had chances to break the tie in the second, but was turned away.
Backes snapped a shot off the near post with 10:26 remaining, and Martin Erat’s short-handed breakaway attempt was stopped by Halak with 6:41 left in the period after the Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo and Jason Arnott got crossed up at the blue line and turned the puck over.
The Predators got what they wanted, a road win.
“It’s a good team and they’ve been playing really well,” Rinne said of the Blues. “It’s one of those teams, we’re going to battle to the end. We’ve been playing solid against them all three games. We always seem to play well against this team.”
Notes: Blues LW Alex Steen missed the game with concussion-like symptoms. ... Predators D Shea Weber (concussion) missed his third straight game. ... Blues LW Andy McDonald skated with the team Friday morning for the first time since suffering a concussion Oct. 13. McDonald began skating on his own on Dec. 23. ... Oshie (wrist), RW Jamie Langenbrunner (flu) and Vladimir Sobotka (ankle) all returned to the lineup for the Blues. ... Predators D Kevin Klein (flulike complications) missed his sixth straight game.
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