The Nashville Predators spoiled another team’s home opener for the second time in as many nights doubling St. Louis 4-2 Saturday at Scottrade Center.
With two goals and two assists, Nashville’s offense was led by David Legwand, as well as Craig Smith who added a goal and two helpers. While the top line of Legwand, Smith and Colin Wilson have helped propel Nashville to its 2-0-0 record, it was a reactionary goal that sealed the deal for the Predators Saturday night.
With the Predators up 2-1 in the third period, Jason Arnott scored to tie the game for the Blues at 12:17 into the final frame. Just 57 seconds later, defenseman Kevin Klein’s wrist shot beat Jaroslav Halak on the glove side for Nashville to regain the lead.
The goal was Klein’s first career game winning goal.
“I got a good pass from Legwand up the wall. I saw the guy committing to the middle. I gave him a fake and tried to step around him. I tried to put a shot on net and it went in which is nice,” Klein said describing his goal.
Klein was on the ice for 21:05, 3:06 of which was on the penalty kill. With two hits and four blocked shots, the Kitchener, Ontario native says he will jump into the play when given the opportunity.
“They want us to be two-way defensemen for the most part. My number one priority is playing defense, being good on the penalty kill. We like to be at the top of the League in that. If I can chip in offensively, and get opportunities, our forwards are great at covering us, so we do get a chance to jump in,” Klein explained.
Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz was pleased with the veteran defenseman’s play. “Klein was solid today. He got his head up. He changed the angle. He got their guy to freeze on him a little bit and then he put it on the net and got it through. That was great,” Trotz said.
The Blues opened scoring 7:44 into the first period on a goal by Patrik Berglund. Craig Smith picked up his second goal in as many nights to tie the game on the power play at 11:37 of the opening frame. Jamie Langenbrunner was in the penalty box for slashing.
After a scoreless second period, Legwand gave the Predators the lead 6:07 into the third period when his shot off of Blues defenseman Nikita Nikitin beat Halak six minutes before Arnott and Klein exchanged goals. Chris Stewart was in the penalty box for delay of game.
Legwand added an empty net goal with 1:02 left in the third period to give the Predators the insurance goal.
Nashville has had 10 minor penalties called against the team in their first two games and killed off 9 of them.
Martin Erat suffered an upper body injury during Friday’s game in Columbus and did not play against the Blues.
Nashville doesn’t play again until Thursday night when their home opener against the Phoenix Coyotes.