Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark Humphrey
Another night, another very similar result for the Predators. Patric Hornqvist’s 3 point night went all for naught as Steen and Oshie would score in the shootout to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 shootout victory over the Nashville Predators in front of another sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena.
“Of course it’s good to get points,” said Predators forward Patric Hornqvist. “There is only 48 games this season and all points are important.”
Hornqvist, who now leads the Predators in points for the early season, netted his 9th career multi-point game for Nashville. While the final score wasn’t what the Predators had envisioned, it’s clear that the team is in a much better direction after Saturday’s sloppy shootout-loss to the Blue Jackets.
“I thought it was a way better game from our standpoint tonight,” said Hornqvist. “We played quick and we played Predator hockey out there today and it felt good too.
Nashville is the only team in the NHL right now that has had all of their games this season head to the shootout round. While points are important early and often, the Predators aren’t satisfied with their play and know their A-game is still a couple strides away.
“When we went to the shootout, they came up big. It’s going to happen, but we’re going to have to work on our shootout. We can’t lose any more shootout games here early in the season,” said Hornqvist.
The Predators saw action start with a bit of a feeling out period between both teams early in the contest. 4:55 into the first, though, Rich Clune and Kevin Shattenkirk earned matching minors after Clune slammed a Blues player into the glass separating the two player benches. I’ll be genuinely surprised if there isn’t any supplementary discipline, however Shattenkirk could garner some of his own after he immediately jumped on Clune’s back afterwards.
Both teams would swap goals in a span of 1:18 near the halfway mark of the opening period. Colin Wilson got Nashville on the board after a beautiful feed from Patric Hornqvist at 9:10 of the first to give the Predators a 1-0 lead. At 10:28, Vladimir Tarasenko continued his early season tear notching his third goal in two games tying the game at one apiece.
“I thought overall we played a really good game. We did some good things, but of course we can be better. We have to be better to get more points,” said Hornqvist.
5 minutes later, another quick flurry of goals made it a two-goal apiece game late in the first. Andy McDonald fired a point from the slot during the powerplay giving the Blues a 2-1 lead. 2:09 later, Mike Fisher evened the score only seconds into an ensuing Predators powerplay making it a 2-2 game. With only 19 seconds remaining in the first, Rinne made (what I believed to be) one of his most crucial saves of the game. It kept the game tied at two leading into the first intermission.
“I think our team is on the same page, with the exception of the last powerplay,” said Predators captain Shea Weber. “We had some adjusting but all around, I think we were pretty good.”
The Predators would score the only goal of the second period with a nifty Hornqvist backhand feed over Halak, which would ultimately be the end of the netminder’s night as well. Halak would be pulled in favor of Elliott after Nashville’s third goal 12:53 into the second period. With Elliott in the game, St. Louis shut the door for good and the Predators steam would be capped for the evening.
A closely contested third period returned the state of both teams to more of a feeling out period. Elliott’s presence seemed to re-group the Blues and re-organize their efforts, as a 10-shot period by the Predators in the third would see every instance stopped by the Blues 1B goaltender. Yet, the door couldn’t be slammed by Nashville as St. Louis would score with 7:50 left in regulation. Pietrangelo collected a loose puck off to Rinne’s left side as the Finnish goaltender fell to the ice and would deposit it to tie the game at 3 before a scoreless overtime and the ensuing shootout.
Nashville’s effort to collect points in consecutive games to start the season is definitely not the worst thing that could happen, even though a W wasn’t the end result. However, albeit an early deterrent, it’ll be best if the team writes these two off quickly and flip the page for their upcoming lengthy 7-game roadtrip.
Powerplay – 2 for 6, 33%
Penalty Kill – 1 for 2, 50%
Best Play of the Game: Patric Hornqvist’s wicked backhander over Halak that ended the goaltender’s night and gave the Predators a 3-2 lead.
Worst Play of the Game: Pietrangelo’s goal late in the third to tie the game at 3. Nashville was starting to fall back on their heels and it finally cost them
My Three Stars (as voted by me):
#1: – Patric Hornqvist
#2: – Vladimir Tarasenko
#3: – Mike Fisher
See you tomorrow night as the Predators travel to Minnesota to take on Ryan Suter and the Wild in the first of their long 7-game road-trip. Puck drop is at 7pm central.