Originally written on Smashville 24/7  |  Last updated 11/19/14
Nashville Predators forward Martin Erat continued his stellar offensive play of late with three points in the team’s 3-1 win over St. Louis. Pekka Rinne also lent a helping hand with 42 saves in the victory, but Erat led the way offensively.

Getting out to a quick start against the Blues was a main focus for the Preds, and Erat was able to lead off the scoring at the 6:59 mark of the first period. Temporarily occupying Ryan Suter’s vacant position on the blue-line, Erat picked up a pass from Patric Hornqvist and had a lot of room to shoot. He let go of a rare slap shot that found the back of the net, giving the Preds a 1-0 lead on the power play.

“I saw (Hornqvist) coming to the net and I saw he tried to put his stick on it,” Erat said of his 12th goal of the season. “I thought it could be tipped, it went off (Jaroslav Halak’s) glove and went into the net.”

Hornqvist, who had the primary assist on the goal, was a bit surprised to see Erat take the slap shot from the point.

“He’s usually a playmaker but he’s got a good shot. Maybe he should use it a little more,” he said.

Erat also recorded two assists in the game, extending his team points lead to 39 in 45 games. His three points, which is a single game is a season high, is extra impressive considering it came against a team that the Preds always play close, low-scoring games against.

“It was a great, playoff type game,” Erat said of the game against the Blues. “They have a great team, and they’re going to be hard to beat. We came away with two points and that’s what counts right now.”

Erat now has nine points in his last seven games, continuing the great success individually and his line. Also, when Erat scores this season, the Predators are 10-1-0.

“The thing about Marty is he’s scoring in different ways,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “How many slap shots have you seen him take in 14 years? Not a lot, but he’s doing that more. I like the fact that Marty isn’t just playing one way. To me he’s one of the most underrated players in the league.”

While Erat shined offensively, Rinne put the team on his back in key moments, including 19 third period saves and this highlight-reel stop on St. Louis defenseman Kris Russell midway through the third period. Rinne extended his franchise record for consecutive wins to 11 with his standout performance tonight against the Blues.

“He’s stopping the puck, but he’s making the big save when the game is on the line,” Trotz said of Rinne. “You talk about special players and people in this league, he’s one of them.”

The Predators (32-17-4) will end their quick home stand when they host the playoff rival Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
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